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Liberia’s election: how it works

FILE PHOTO: George Weah set to contest for presidency of Liberia again

Monrovia, Liberia | AFP | Liberia will hold presidential and legislative elections on October 10. Here are the key points explaining how the election will work and when the results will be known.

– US model –

Africa’s first republic was founded by freed slaves from the United States and retains many similarities with the US political system, though there are significant variations.

Presidential and vice-presidential candidates run on a joint ticket for six-year terms.

Voters will also elect 73 seats to the House of Representatives (lower chamber), also for six years.

No race will be held for the Senate (upper house) this year.

Elections are overseen by the autonomous National Elections Commission (NEC).

– Run-off –

Liberia operates a two-round voting system for presidential elections.

If no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of votes in the first round, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will face a run-off.

A run-off is highly likely this year as there are 20 candidates in a crowded field and the incumbent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, cannot run having served the maximum two terms.

The House of Representatives use a first-past-the-post system, where the representative with the highest number of votes is elected.

– Timings –

Polling stations open at 8am (0800 GMT) and close at 6pm (1800 GMT) for Liberia’s 2.1 million registered voters.

– Observers –

The European Union, African Union and regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have all deployed observer missions to ensure the elections are held in free and fair circumstances.

Disputed results caused violence in the last election in 2011 and this will be the first vote entirely overseen by Liberia’s police and army, without the support of UN peacekeepers.

– Results

Official provisional results are expected within 48 hours, though the electoral commission has until October 25 to issue its final confirmation of the results and to announce a run-off if necessary for the presidency.

According to the constitution the run-off is held on the second Tuesday following the final result announcement: November 7 in this case.


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