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George Weah leads as Liberia's polls results trickle in

Posted by From Alabi Williams Monrovia, Liberia on 2005/10/12 | Views: 2551 |

George Weah leads as Liberia's polls results trickle in


AS the results of Tuesday's general elections in Liberia began to trickle in yesterday, football hero, George Weah, appeared set to become the war-weary country's next democratic president.

AS the results of Tuesday's general elections in Liberia began to trickle in yesterday, football hero, George Weah, appeared set to become the war-weary country's next democratic president.


The National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) began the release of preliminary results of the election yesterday evening.


As at 8.00 p.m., Liberian time, a total of 34,901 votes had been counted and tallied. The results showed that 102 polling units from nine counties of Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Geddeh, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba and Sinoe had been counted.


The recorded turn-out for these places amounted to 75 per cent. Out of this, the three leading candidates were Weah (27 per cent), Joseph Korto (18 per cent) and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (16.7 per cent).


Of the 255 inaccessible areas, helicopters had successfully retrieved three in River Gee, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount. That of Grand Kru could not be retrieved due to technical problems.


The electoral commission has, however, cautioned against speculative reports. It said yesterday that the difficult terrain of the war-weary country demanded at least one week before the results of the election could be announced.


The chairman of the National Elections Commission of Liberia, Frances Johnson Morris, told journalists that it would take at least one week to announce the results.


The electoral system of Liberia is a little complex. And, because of the infrastructure collapse, about 250 polling centres are not easily accessible. That, according to the Morris, explains why it takes considerable time to collate results and transfer them to the headquarters of the counties.


One interesting dimension in the elections is the failure of the National Transition Government Chairman, Charles Gyude Bryant, to locate his voter's card after appearing at a polling centre in his Maryland County. Bryant went to Maryland in a well-guarded helicopter, only to discover that he had left his card at home.


Meanwhile, Nigeria's former military ruler, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has cautioned against any call for a hasty pull-out of international peace-keepers from Liberia in spite of the peaceful elections.


Gen. Abubakar, who is the ECOWAS Mediation Group in Liberia, said yesterday that the United Nations Military Intervention (UNMIL) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) force (ECOMIL) would not leave the war-weary country in a hurry.


He told journalists in Monrovia yesterday that the situation in that country is still very delicate. He said that the new government that would be instituted in January 2006 would inherit a lot of liabilities that would require hard work to fix.


He said: "Because disarmament has taken place in Liberia and because elections have been held does not mean that there is complete peace in the country. There is still a lot to be done. We as the facilitators of the peace process have offered the recommendation that the United Nations Military Intervention and the ECOWAS Military Intervention still remain in Liberia for the next two years in order to ensure that this momentum of peace that we have achieved is pushed forward."


He continued: "Liberia needs assistance in capacity-building. Liberia is the only country in the world where the elder generation are more educated than the younger population. Why? Because for the last 20 years, there have been no schools. The boy soldiers have been engaged in fighting. Infrastructure is non-existent."

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