A retired soccer star and Liberia’s vice president will square off in November in a runoff to succeed the longtime president after no candidate got enough votes in this month’s first round. George Weah, who was FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 1995, took 39% of the vote in the Oct. 10 poll, with nearly 96% of ballots counted. Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai of the ruling Unity Party was second with 29%. The two candidates, who topped a field of 20, will vie to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist who has served two six-year terms, the maximum allowed under the constitution. The contest is set to result in the West African nation’s first peaceful transition of power in more than 50 years. Final results, as certified by Liberia’s National Election Commission, will be announced by Oct. 25.
The preliminary results marked a downturn for the ruling party, which steered a recovery from a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.
Liberia’s economy quadrupled in size, to $2.1 billion from $550 million in 2005, during Ms. Sirleaf’s term, according to the World Bank. But many ordinary Liberians complain of poor social services and widespread corruption, issues that have allowed the opposition to make inroads in ruling-party strongholds.
Full Article: Liberia Heads for Presidential Runoff – WSJ.