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Peaceful poll in Liberia

Posted by The Punch on 2005/10/12 | Views: 2571 |

Peaceful poll in Liberia

Liberians on Tuesday trooped out to vote in the presidential and legislative elections amid tight security.

Liberians on Tuesday trooped out to vote in the presidential and legislative elections amid tight security.

The elections, which will see the emergence of a president and 94 members of parliament, were peaceful.

At all the polling stations visited by our correspondent, the 21,000-strong military and police personnel drawn for the election had little or nothing to do.

Except for the Lower Monstorado Polling Centre where there was a mild protest because of the delay in attending to voters, there was no other incident.

The security personnel provided by the United Nations Mission in Liberia started patrolling the streets of Monrovia, the capital, and other major cities from 5am.

Helicopters hovered over the major towns and counties.

Voters arrived quite early at the polling centres too.

In anticipation of a long wait at the polling centres, many of them brought umbrellas, stools and chairs along with them.

Despite an early morning rain and mid-morning scorching sun, most of the voters did not leave the queue or complain.

International observers who spoke with our correspondent commended the people of Liberia for conducting themselves in such orderly manner.

They said they were satisfied with the conduct of the polls.

Nigeria’s Ambassador of Sports and Tourism and one of the monitors of the Economic Community of West African States, Mr. John Fashanu, described the conduct of the election and the electorate as "wonderful and calm."

Fashanu said it was obvious the people were ready to move their nation forward after over 14 years of fighting.

Project Officer of OXFAM, Liberia, Mrs. Tonieh Wiles, said she was impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the electorate.

Wiles also commended Liberians for the peaceful electioneering witnessed prior to the elections.

A Nigerian and UNMIL Electoral Adviser for Lower Monstorado, Mr. Bob Onwuliri, also praised the people of Liberia for showing the world that they were peace-loving nation.

Twenty-two candidates are vying for the presidency, while 205 candidates are contesting for the 30 senatorial seats and 513 for the 64 seats in the House of Representatives.

Ex-international footballer, Mr. George Weah, and a renowned economist, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, are among the leading contenders for the presidency.

The results will be announced latest on October 26.

If no clear winner emerges, a re-run will be held on November 8 for the two leading candidates.

The new government is expected to assume office in January 2006.

The PUNCH, Wednesday, October 12, 2005

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