In few hours President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s successor will be know following Tuesday low turn out presidential runoff election.
The Vote previously scheduled for November 7, this year was delayed due to legal challenge from the ruling Unity Party and the Liberty Party on account of fraud and irregularity accusations.
With a little over 2 million voting population, the election is expected to record a less number of voters compared to the October 10, 2017 legislative and presidential elections, which registered more that 70% turn out.
The United States Ambassador accredited near the capital Monrovia, Christine Elder said expected the turnout to be more but it was not encouraging.
“This is one of the largest polling places [Cathedral Catholic School] in Monrovia I understand, but I think throughout the day it’s going to be lower than it was in October,” she said.
“ We [US] and the international community are following the election very closely. We got a number of our own team, most importantly the professional and observation team across the country and in every county because Liberia is not just Monrovia.
“This election is more regional because you got ECOWAS and the AU and we have built the capacity of domestic observers who we are working with because this is a big election for everyone and in West Africa. West Africa is moving towards democratic shift and I think that’s what we will see in Liberia today because the people are determined and ready to do it.”
Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party and Senator George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change contested the election, in which voters are seeking affordable education, improved health care and better paid jobs.
“I voted today for my children’s future,” Ma Kumba Kendor said.
“I think Joseph Boakai can make a good president for our country and can move us forward. I’m happy today that we can vote for him. We’re only looking up to God because he’s the one we’re depending on.”
Sweden based governance and political analyst Jelius Kanubah said the election is difficult to predict based on the low turn out,
Mr. Kanubah: It depends whose supporters really did turn out. But in the given circumstances, it is hard to assess since at the close of election campaigning both sides made strong appeals for their supporters to turn out and vote.
As we know, the opposition CDC told its supporters to turn out and retire VP Boakai on 26th December. On the other hand, the Boakai campaign told his supporters to turn out and save Liberia from landing into the wrong and inexperienced hands of Weah. With such statements by both sides, it is difficult to predict.
Nonetheless, if the UP has been crying that they are being cheated or were cheated in the first round of elections, then, this is likely to have discouraged its supporters from turning out since they may have considered their votes as insignificant or subject to misrepresentation.
Equally, Weah supporters might have felt complacent that either he will win or has won the election given the cries of the UP and his relatively good performance during the first round of election. With such feeling, they might have stayed home and not voted. In this sense, Boakai could benefit, that is, if indeed it was his supporters that did turn out.
In short, a low turn out is likely to favour any of the candidates, especially if their supporters were mostly among the low turn out. I cannot stress the game of predictions is messy!
But if turn out is low in Montserrado, Nimba and Bong counties compared to any other county, Weah should be more worried than Boakai. These are decisive counties.
Lofans will surely turn out considering they have a major stake.
But so too are Senator Taylor’s Bong and Nuquay’s Margibi.
Not sure about turn out in Montserrado.
But our rural and peri-urban voters are more likely to vote if they have something at stake.