Liberia votes new president today

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai

Liberians went to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new president who will take over from incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and for 73 members of the lower House of Representatives.The voting started at 8:00 A.M, but voters who are said to be in a jubilant mood started queuing at voting centers as early as 5:30 am.

Finally, my dear Liberians, we all must respect the outcome of the election as declared by the National Electoral Commission.

At a peace concert, Queen Juli Endee, a music artist, urged her fellow Liberians to shun violence during the elections.

Many residents are calling for a president who delivers on promises to improve the economy, increase employment and improve access to electricity.

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Johnson Sirleaf is due to step down next year.

For a candidate to be declared a victor, they must get at least 50 percent of the votes cast, plus one.

Vice President Boakai, 72, is holding the post since 2006.

Just take a look around you at the spirit of the political campaign.

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Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, representing the ruling Unity Party, and football star George Weah are the front-runners likely to win a place in the run-off. His vice presidential pick is Jewel Howard Taylor, the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor, who's serving a 50-year sentence in a United Kingdom prison for atrocities committed during a civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone. Twenty candidates, including the current vice president, former world footballer of the year and a model, are running for the country's top seat - with 2.2 million voters registered in the small country of 4.6 million people.

"The day I become president of this country, people will see what I can do", the FIFA's 1995 Player of the Year told The Associated Press. He was previously the Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985 under President Samuel Doe. 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.

"The West African countries have done very well for us".

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The EU, African Union, the USA and other partners have sent in observer missions to watch over the polls. Final results for the first round are expected to be announced by October 25.

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