With almost all votes counted in Liberia’s election, President George Weah and his main rival Joseph Boakai are still running neck and neck, meaning they are set for a run-off.
Mr Weah currently has 43.8% of the vote with Mr Boakai on 43.5%, provisional results show.A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to be declared the winner.
The 10 October election was Liberia’s closest presidential race since a civil war ended two decades ago.
The election commission released the latest results after votes had been counted in more than 98% of polling stations, giving Mr Weah a slim lead of 5,456 votes.
Voting is set to be repeated in some parts of Sinoe, Nimba and Montserrado counties on Friday after ballots were tampered with by unknown people, the commission said.
Mr Weah, a former international football star, is seeking a second term as president.
The president won a run-off in the 2017 poll with 61.5% to Mr Boakai’s 38.5%.
He got the most votes in the first round of that election – 38.4% to Mr Boakai’s 28.8%, suggesting that Mr Boakai fared better in last week’s poll.
Analyst Abdullah Kiatamba told AFP news agency that whoever comes out on top in the first round will have the advantage of greater momentum.
A run-off will be held on 7 November after the announcement of official results. Analysts say this might be the last attempt at the presidency for Mr Boakai, 78.
He served as vice-president in the government of then-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to achieve peace and stability in Liberia following a brutal civil war that killed an estimated 250,000 people.
He waged his campaign under the slogan “Rescue”, arguing that the West African state went downhill during Mr Weah’s first six years in office.
Mr Weah, 57, has dismissed Mr Boakai’s allegations, saying that he has made significant strides, including introducing free tuition for university students.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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