Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Liberians vote for president in high-stakes contest


By Jennifer O'MAHONY

Liberians head to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new president in a contest set to complete the country's first democratic transition of power in more than 70 years.

After a campaign hailed for a vibrant and violence-free debate, the small West African nation's 2.18 million registered voters will begin casting their ballots between 8am (0800 GMT) and 6pm (1800 GMT).

With Africa's first female elected head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, stepping aside after a maximum two terms, Liberians will choose from a crowded field of 20 candidates, although just one of them is a woman.

"The future of the country is in your hands, no one is entitled to your vote, not because of party, ethnicity, religion or tribal affiliation," Sirleaf, a co-winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, declared in a speech on Monday.