International observers commend Liberia on peaceful election

A combination of pictures showing Liberia's presidential candidates George Weah (L) and Joseph Boakai. PHOTO | AFP

Election observers on Thursday congratulated Liberia for staging a "largely" peaceful presidential run-off vote, with the two candidates neck-and-neck in latest counting.

Tuesday's "election day was calm, and we noticed organisational improvements of the process since the first round," said the European Union (EU) Observation Mission's Deputy Chief Observer Jarek Domanski.

Liberia's National Electoral Commission (Nec) demonstrated its ability to conduct elections without the presence of the United Nations, he said in a statement.

The second round of the presidential election pitted incumbent George Weah, a former international football star, against Joseph Boakai, who was vice president from 2006 to 2018.

Latest results show the challenger leading with 50.58 percent of the votes against 49.42 for the sitting president.

Electoral commission head Davidetta Browne Lansanah tol reporters the results were based on counts from 5,107 of the 5,890 polling stations -- or more than 86 percent of stations.

But she did not say how many votes the stations represent.

The elections were the first since the United Nations in 2018 ended its peacekeeping mission, created after more than 250,000 people died in two civil wars in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) also congratulated all stakeholders for the "largely" peaceful elections.

But it noted isolated incidents that led to "injuries and hospitalisations" in the provinces of Lofa, Nimba, Bong and Montserrado.

The two observation missions called on the candidates and their supporters to show restraint and to wait patiently for the final results.

They must be announced within 15 days of the vote.

"While political freedoms of candidates and supporters were largely respected, the use of state resources by the ruling party continued to distort the level playing field", the EU mission said.

It also denounced inflammatory comments on social networks, which intensified as the second round approached.

Clashes during the campaign left several dead before the first round and raised fears of post-election violence