Soccer star George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai both eluded that they were heading for victory in Liberia’s presidential elections, as they waited for early results on Thursday in an election meant to be Liberia's first democratic transfer of power in more than seven decades. The last democratic power transfer occurred in 1944.
The other parties behind the candidates alleged that there was voting fraud and vowed to contest the results on Thursday.
The Liberty Party candidate, Charles Brumskine, called for a halt in announcing the results a day earlier than expected.
The All Liberian Party candidate, Benoni Urey and the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction candidate, former rebel leader Prince Johnson, alleged that there were extra ballots printed in advance and marked with votes for Boakai.
“Every possible electoral fraud has been committed by the Unity Party,” said Urey, referring to Boakai’s ruling group.
Vice President Boakai’s campaign manager, Mohammed Ali, declined to respond to the accusations.
However, the international observers such as the European Union and the U.S. based Carter Center and National Democratic Institute (NDI) refuted the allegations by concluding that they had not seen any major problems at the polls on Tuesday.
“The overall conduct of the voting was generally assessed as either good or very good,” the EU mission said in a statement.
None of the parties have yet to provide evidence of cheating.
Mulbah Morlu, an official from Weah’s CDC party, broadcasted an open invitation on local radio to a “pre-victory celebration” outside the group’s headquarters.
Boakai’s campaign manager, Mohammed Ali, suggested that Boakai was heading for a run-off against Weah in November.
Weah lost to outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005 when he came second, and she became Africa’s first elected female president.
Earlier in the day, President Johnson Sirleaf hailed the election as historic.
“We believe that all Liberians are ready for this process. I thank them for participating in this process,” she told reporters.
The two top vote-winners from the field of 20 candidates, which is predicted to be Boakai and Weah, will advance to a run-off in November in the event that no one wins an outright majority.