Ex-footballer star, and Liberia’s president, Weah, seeks second term, as 2.4 million voters go to polls


FREETOWN – Liberians are set to vote in a fiercely contested presidential election, with former football star George Weah, 57, making a bid for a second term.

His main challenger is former Deputy President Joseph Boakai, 78.

Boakai has waged his campaign under the slogan “Rescue”, arguing that the West African state went downhill during Mr Weah’s first six years in office, reported the BBC.

But Weah is confident of victory, saying that he had kept Liberia stable and had improved education.

This would be the first time that a generation of young voters, born in peace-time Liberia, would vote for a president.

A brutal civil war, which killed an estimated 250,000 people, ended two decades ago.

Many Liberians are clamouring for the establishment of a war crimes court to bring to justice the key figures behind the conflict, saying failure to do so has created a culture of impunity.

Weah has so far resisted the pressure, saying that focusing on old crimes was not the best way to achieve development.

Boakai along with two other leading candidates, businessman Alexander Cummings and human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe had pledged to set up a court.

About 2.4 million people have registered to vote, with polls due to open at 08:00 GMT.

A total of 19 candidates including two women are running against Weah, who took over from Africa’s first elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after she stepped down at the end of her two terms in 2018.

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Voters would also cast ballots for parliamentary representatives in Tuesday’s election.

Liberia’s main parties had pledged to uphold peace during the polls, despite clashes between rival camps in the final days of the campaign.

Election-related violence left three people dead in September.

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