rain
Sunday December 17th, 2017 4:14PM

Liberia votes to replace Africa's 1st female leader

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberians gathered in masses under the bright sun Tuesday to vote in an election that for the first time in more than 70 years will see one democratically elected government hand power to another.

As Africa's first female president prepares to step aside, there are fears that if the results aren't accepted the tensions and violence of Liberia's past could rise again.

"This election now is crucial and important because as you can see the peace is very fragile right now and we need a smooth transition from one government to another," said Stevera Toh, a 32-year-old accountant. "So we have to vote wisely and make the right decision for our country, our kids and generations."

Toh was among thousands who lined up well before sunrise to vote in Monrovia's Paynesville suburb.

Voter Andrea Kamara, a 27-year-old marketing consultant, said Liberia needs development.

"Whoever gets into office needs to focus on infrastructure, education and sustaining the peace," she said.

Liberia's health system was decimated by the Ebola outbreak that killed nearly 5,000 Liberians in 2014-2015 and posed the biggest challenge for Nobel Prize-winning President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She led Liberia's transition from a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003 after killing more than 250,000 people.

More than 2.1 million voters have registered to vote at nearly 5,400 polling stations throughout this West African country that was established by the United States in the 19th century for freed black slaves.

Twenty presidential candidates are vying for a majority in the first round of elections on Tuesday, while nearly 1,000 candidates from 26 political parties fight for 73 seats in the House of Representatives.

Given the high number of presidential candidates, it is unlikely anyone will win more than 50 percent of the vote, taking the elections to a second round, likely in November.

Frontrunner Vice President Joseph Boakai, 72, told The Associated Press he doesn't expect a second round.

"But if there is a second round, it is something that we will want to be a part of," he said. Voter turnout was impressive, he said after voting in the eastern Paynesville suburb. Boakai told reporters if he wins, "we are not going to be a donor-driven country, Liberians are going to build their economy."

His main contender is 51-year-old former international soccer star, George Weah. His running mate is Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor, who is jailed for war crimes.

Weah ran against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005, winning in the first round but losing to her in the second.

Another top candidate, ex-warlord Prince Johnson, who videotaped himself as his fighters tortured and killed President Samuel Doe in 1990, has expressed doubt about Weah's ability to govern.

The only female vying for the presidency is international model MacDella Cooper, 41, who has promised she would take only $1 a year as salary if she is elected

Charles Brumskine, former leader of the senate during the regime of Charles Taylor, promises change, and says he'd cut his and his vice president's salary by 30 percent.

Taking the reins from outgoing leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who has brought Liberia international attention, will not be easy. But Liberia's transfer of power stands as an example in Africa where other leaders cling to power.

"It is an historic day for our nation, and for the consolidation of Liberia's young democracy," Sirleaf said Monday. "Let us take a moment to reflect on how far we have come, as a nation, and as a people, from a society destroyed by conflict and war, to one of the most vibrant democracies in the West Africa region."

International observer missions are in the country to watch the polls. Final results for the first round are expected to be announced by Oct. 25.

Liberian security forces, led by the police, are for the first time since 2003 in charge of polls. The United Nations peacekeeping mission handed security responsibilities over two years ago. The 5,000-strong police force is being supported by a new army of about 2,000 troops who are on standby.

Police have worked at "building trust and confidence" in the public ahead of the election, police chief Gregory Coleman told AP.

___

Associated Press writer Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Liberia votes to replace Africa's 1st female leader
Liberians gather at polling stations to vote in an election that for the first time in more than 70 years will see one democratically elected government hand power to another as Africa's first elected female president steps aside
4:38AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Amid cooperation, some Trump allies urge Russia probe fight
Trump friends itch for a fight over Mueller's Russia inquiry
4:15AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Chemist says Kim had 1.4 times lethal dosage of VX on face
A chemist says the half brother of North Korea's leader had about 1.4 times the lethal dosage of VX nerve agent on his face after he was attacked at a Malaysian airport
4:10AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Missouri Republican Hawley announces run for US Senate
Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has made it official: He's running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2018
1:06AM ( 3 hours ago )
Pence tours California, raises funds for House Republicans
Vice President Mike Pence traveled up California on Monday to raise money for endangered Republican congressional candidates and tout the Trump administration's proposal for cutting taxes
11:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
Pence raises campaign funds for California House Republicans
Vice President Mike Pence raises campaign dollars to help endangered Republican congressional candidates in California, hoping to foil Democrats' hopes of retaking the House next year
10:44PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Feinstein, oldest senator at 84, to seek re-election
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, oldest U.S. senator at 84, says she's running for re-election
4:02PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Barcelona mayor says all sides must de-escalate
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau says the results of a disputed independence referendum earlier this month can't be used to declare secession and is calling on all sides to de-escalate tensions
1:43PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Abertis is latest company to relocate in Spain
Highway management company Abertis is announcing a relocation of its corporate address from Barcelona to Madrid, the latest such move amid the political uncertainty in Catalonia
1:38PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Japan election campaign begins; PM Abe pledges stability
Hundreds of candidates have taken to the streets as the official 12-day campaigning for Japan's Oct. 22 lower house election began, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling party facing challenges from regrouped opposition forces
1:52AM ( 2 hours ago )
Melania Trump filling out her agenda as first lady
As Melania Trump becomes more at ease with her new role, she is speaking out more about how she envisions using her position to help children.
4:24PM ( 12 hours ago )
Melania Trump filling out her agenda
As Melania Trump becomes more at ease with her new role, she is speaking out more about how she envisions using her position to help children.
2:24PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Elections
Vice President Pence plans California fundraising visit
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to arrive in California this weekend for a fundraising trip in a state that overwhelmingly rejected his boss
3:08AM ( 2 days ago )
Some Democrats returning money they received from Weinstein
Congressional Democrats are starting to give charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from disgraced Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein
10:19AM ( 2 days ago )
Supporters of opposition leader Navalny rally across Russia
Supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny are rallying across Russia demanding that authorities allow him to run for president
8:52AM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Taiwan leader: Protect regional stability amid China tension
Taiwan's president says the independence-leaning government will defend the self-governing island's freedoms and democratic system amid heightened tensions with rival China
2:22AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Chemist rules out 2-part combo of VX in Kim case
A government chemist says the VX nerve agent that killed Kim Jong Nam could not have been a combination of two non-fatal elements
1:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
Engineers: lives lost in Mexico quake could have been saved
Prominent engineers says dozens of lives likely could have been saved in Mexico City's Sept. 19 earthquake if officials had outlawed a building technique now banned in parts of the United States, Chile and New Zealand
10:58PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP World News
Amid cooperation, some Trump allies urge Russia probe fight
Trump friends itch for a fight over Mueller's Russia inquiry
4:15AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Chemist says Kim had 1.4 times lethal dosage of VX on face
A chemist says the half brother of North Korea's leader had about 1.4 times the lethal dosage of VX nerve agent on his face after he was attacked at a Malaysian airport
4:10AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Japan court: Govt, utility accountable in Fukushima accident
A Japanese court has ordered the government and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant to pay 500 million yen ($4.5 million) to thousands of former residents who demanded compensation for their livelihoods lost in the 2011 nuclear crisis
4:09AM ( 33 minutes ago )
The Latest: Chemist says Kim's blazer was sent to N. Korea
A government chemist says the blazer worn by Kim Jong Nam and contaminated with VX nerve agent when he was attacked at a Malaysian airport was sent back to North Korea
3:59AM ( 43 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Cubs try to oust Washington in Game 4 of NLDS
LEADING OFF: Cubs try to oust Washington in Game 4 of NLDS
3:33AM ( 1 hour ago )