The first Africa’s female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia will officially commence the process of stepping down and handing over the reins of power after serving two six-year terms in office – the constitutionally mandated limit as her country goes to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new president and legislators.
This will be Liberia’s third election since the civil war in the country ended in 2003 and the the first time since 1944 that a democratically elected leader will hand over power to another elected leader.
20 candidates are vying for the position of president. The registered number of voters is 2.2 million in a nation with the population of 4.6 million. The winner must win at least 50 percent of the votes cast, plus one to be declared the new president.
The front runners are former world footballer, George Weah, incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, longtime opposition figure Charles Brumskine, soft drinks millionaire Alexander Cummings and the only woman in the field, model-turned-humanitarian MacDella Cooper.
Other candidates are Prince Johnson; former rebel leader, Joseph Mills Jones; leader of the Movement for Economic Empowerment and former Governor of the Central.Bank of Liberia, Richard Miller; businessman, Benoni Urey; businessman, MacDonald A. Wento; United People’s Party, and Jeremiah Whapoe, businessman.
Liberia ranks 177 of 188 countries in the UN’s Human Development Index and 174 of 190 nations in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, and every candidate has laid out their plans to change the nation’s gloomy outlook.
Polls will open at 0800 GMT and close at 6pm (1800 GMT), with the first provisional official results expected within 48 hours, according to the National Elections Commission (NEC).