Polls Close in Liberia’s Presidential Runoff Marred By Poor Voter Turnout

Liberian election workers

Most polling stations across Liberia closed after 10 hours of voting in a presidential runoff which saw a general low voter turnout and the process taking place in a calm but tense atmosphere as a result of an opposition boycott and a brutal clash between the police and supporters of the CDC culminating in the death of five opposition CDC members.

The aftermath of the violence led to the closure of some radio stations presumed to be loyal to the CDC and according to the police were inciting violence.

The streets of Monrovia the capital city was very quiet throughout the day with UNMIL Police and The Liberia National Police patrolling the roads whiles UN helicopter Gunships regularly monitoring events from the skies.

Polling as usual started at 8am in most polling stations across the country, but the events of queues was conspicuously missing in most polling stations.Also absent were polling agents from the Congress for Democratic Change, owing to the election boycott calls by the leading functionaries of the party.

The presidential run-off election became necessary because none of the 16 presidential candidates who participated in the October 11 2011 general elections to win the required majority 50% plus 1 of the total valid votes cast as stipulated the Liberian constitution.

The boycott by the leading opposition means the incumbent president will handed victory and the presidency on a silver platter to serve for the next six years.

This election is being considered an important step for Liberia to deepen its fragile democracy after many years of civil wars and it is incidently the first election to be administered fully by the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia and the first to be held under Liberia’s 1986 constitution.