13.10.2005 General News

Weah takes lead in preliminary results

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Monrovia, Oct 13, GNA -- African soccer legend George Weah is leading with 27.5 per cent in preliminary results declared so far from 102 of the 3,070 polling stations, the National Elections Commission (NEC) said in an updated briefing late Wednesday. NEC Chairman Frances Johnson Morris told reporters that Mr Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) got 9,260 ballots out of a total 34,901 counted so far from nine counties.

He is followed by Mr Joseph Korto of the Liberian Equal Rights Party (LERP) who had 6,226 votes, representing 18.5 percent and Mad Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 5,631 votes, or 16.7 per cent. The counties counted so far are Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Geddeh, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, and Nimbaand Sinoe. The average turnout recorded for the nine counties was 75%, according to the NEC.

Mrs Morris said four people were arrested for trying to vote twice, three of them in Lower Montserrado and the fourth in Grand Bassa. Three people were also arrested for attempting to vote with another person's voter card.

In addition to the announcement of the official results as they trickle from the EC, scores of residents both at home, in front of shops and by the streets, are seen listening to unofficial results being broadcast live by the radio stations which put Mr Weah in an unassailable lead. However, the streets have remained calm as the country eagerly awaits something indicative, which the NEC said, is expected by Friday. An estimated 1.3 million voters were expected to have voted in last Tuesday's presidential and legislature elections in the country's first post war vote.

Observer groupings have lauded the elections as peaceful and orderly.