Election officials in Liberia started counting ballots after polling stations closed in presidential and parliamentary elections that regional observers said were conducted peacefully. Liberians chose a president to replace Nobel Peace Price laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from among 20 candidates who include a retired soccer star, a former warlord and a wealthy chicken farmer.
The turnout among the 2.1 million registered voters was high, John Mahama, the head of an observer mission from the Economic Community of West African States and a former president of Ghana, told. Even though some isolated incidents of violence occurred, “voting was generally peaceful,” he said.
Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president who’s governed the impoverished nation for 12 years, supported Vice President Joseph Boakai, 72, the leader of the ruling Unity Party.