Vote counting from Liberia’s presidential runoff is underway, with opposition leader Joseph Boakai holding a slight lead over incumbent George Weah.
Early results from about one-fifth of Liberia’s polling stations showed Boakai winning just under 51% of the vote, with Weah close behind at slightly over 49%.
The two candidates entered a runoff after both failed to secure more than half of the vote in the first round of voting.
Over 2.4 million people cast their ballots last month in the first round of voting, which gave 57-year-old Weah a slight lead over his political rival Boakai, 78.
Weah, a football legend, has appealed to younger voters but has had to defend his record from his time as president. He defeated the former vice president, Boakai, in the 2017 election, winning more than 61% of the vote.
The electoral commission has to publish the results of the election within the next 15 days.
National and foreign observers have said that the election has been held fairly and peacefully, citing only a few minor incidents, despite fears over the safety and openness of the election.
The Economic Community of West African States sent observers who said that there has been “generally peaceful conduct of the elections so far,” although they voiced a “deep concern over provocative statements and alleged planned conferences by political actors to prematurely declare victory.”
They did not specify which candidate was planning to do this.
There have been fears of post-election violence, following clashes that left several people dead while the candidates were on the campaign trail.
This is the first election to have been held since the United Nations ended its peacekeeping mission in Liberia in 2018.
Two civil wars in Liberia, running from 1989 to 2003, left more than 250,000 people dead.
Some information in this report was taken from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.