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Liberians going to polls in presidential run-off

Liberians have gone to the polls to select a new president in a run-off vote that analysts say is too close to predict the outcome.

Polling stations opened at 8:00 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Tuesday and are expected to close at 6:00 p.m. (1800 GMT), with 2.1 million people eligible to take part.

The voters will choose between former international footballer George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai.

The vote is being held with a seven-week delay due to legal challenges against the country’s electoral commission lodged by Boakai’s party.

Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai (L) and presidential candidate, George Weah (Photo by AFP)

The Supreme Court had ordered the electoral commission to resolve the issues raised in the first round of presidential election before a scheduled run-off vote can be held.

Weah won the first round of voting with 38.4 percent to Boakai’s 28.8 percent. Third-place finisher Charles Brumskine won nearly 10 percent of the votes.

The run-off came after neither of the candidates managed to secure the over 50 percent needed to win outright.

Analysts say both candidates enjoy equal support among eligible voters in the West African nation.

The current leader of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is stepping down from office after serving two terms as Africa’s first elected female president.

One of Johnson’s most difficult challenges during her 12-year tenure was a two-year Ebola epidemic that ended almost two years ago and killed more than 11,000 people.

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