Liberian President Short of Outright Majority at Halfway Vote Tally

Posted October 14th, 2011 at 11:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Liberia's incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has increased her lead in the country's presidential election, but is still short of the majority needed for an outright victory.

Election officials said Friday that Ms. Sirleaf now leads with more than 45 percent of the vote from Tuesday's election, up from about 44 percent the day before. Her closest rival, Winston Tubman, has garnered less than 30 percent. With about half of the ballots counted, former rebel leader Senator Prince Johnson remains in third place with about 11 percent of the vote.

The election was Liberia's second national poll since the end of a 14-year civil war in 2003.

Election observers from the Economic Community of West African States say the vote was largely free and fair and that ballot counting is proceeding smoothly. The U.S.-based Carter Center agreed, noting only minor irregularities.

The electoral commission has until October 26 to announce the final results.

If no candidate wins more than half of the vote, a runoff election will take place November 8.