Election officials in Liberia started counting ballots after polling stations closed in presidential and parliamentary elections that regional observers said were conducted peacefully, Bloomberg reports.
Liberians chose a president to replace Nobel Peace Price laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from among 20 candidates who include former FIFA footballer of the year, George Weah and a wealthy chicken farmer. Voting ended at most stations from 6 p.m. on Tuesday, with the first official results expected to be released Wednesday.
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 reporters in the capital, Monrovia. 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, which is widely credited with consolidating peace in a country left in ruins by a civil war that ended in 2003.