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Liberia president extends lead, short of poll majority

By | October 15th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has extended her lead in Liberia's election but remains short of an outright majority, according to the latest batch of results announced by the election commission on Friday.

Johnson-Sirleaf now leads with 45.4 percent of the vote, up from 44.5 percent on Thursday, ahead of closest rival Winston Tubman, now on 29.5

percent, according to National Election Commission chairman James Fromayah.

With 585,179 valid votes counted from a total of 1.8 million registered voters, former rebel leader Prince Johnson was still in third place with 11.4 percent.

A run-off will take place in early November if no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote.

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Ballots from half the West African country's polling stations have been counted, with turn-out currently at 70.2 percent, the election commission said.

The counting from Montserrado, Liberia's biggest county that includes the capital, Monrovia, has been coming in slowly, drawing criticism from Tubman's CDC party, which claims it as one of their strongholds.

Liberians voted peacefully on Tuesday in just the second election since years of bloodshed and chaos ended in 2003.

Johnson-Sirleaf, the newly-named Nobel Peace laureate, went into the poll as favourite but Tubman, whose running mate is ex-soccer star George Weah, sought to tap into simmering frustrations, especially among Liberian youth.

Although the country has seen increasing investment in its mining and agriculture sectors, many residents say progress has been too slow and complain of a lack of basic services, high food prices, rampant crime and corruption.




President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Liberia George Weah Winston Tubman
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