Runoff Likely in Liberia Presidential Election

Partial results issued Thursday suggest incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf may need to appeal to third-ranking candidate if there is a runoff.

Posted: 10/13/2011 10:49 PM EDT
Filed Under Africa Political

Another batch of partial results released on Thursday show that incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who recently won the Nobel Peace prize and who is Africa’s only female president, may have won 41.7 percent of the vote needed to secure a second term as president of Liberia, Associated Press reports.

 

Her top opponent, former U.N. diplomat Winston Tubman, likely secured 24.5 percent, with Prince Johnson coming in third with 12.5 percent of the vote, according to the electoral commission that represents ballots from around one-sixth of polling stations. Johnson has ascended to the role of “kingmaker” in the race, and Sirleaf will need his endorsement to win if there is a runoff, which would be scheduled for early November.

 

"I will be happy to be the kingmaker," Johnson told Associated Press on Thursday. "And where we will put our support will depend on what our supporters say. ... We will not put our votes into someone's hands blindly." Johnson was one of the major players in Liberia’s disastrous civil war that lasted 14 years and killed more than 200,000 people. Despite his darkened past, he remains popular in the country.

 

If there is a runoff between Sirleaf’s Unity Party and Tubman’s Congress for Democratic Change, it is expected to be heated.

(Photo: Luc Gnago/Reuters)

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