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Liberia elections: Voters head to polls as George Weah faces Joseph Boakai

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Liberians are voting in a fiercely contested presidential election, with former football star George Weah, 57, making a bid for a second term. His main challenger is former Deputy President Joseph Boakai, 78, who has waged his campaign under the slogan “Rescue”, arguing that the West African state went downhill during Weah’s first six years in office. However, Weah is confident of victory, saying that he has kept Liberia stable and improved education. This will be the first time a generation of young voters, born in peace-time Liberia, will vote for a president.

Many Liberians are clamouring for the establishment of a war crimes court to bring to justice the key figures behind the conflict, saying failure to do so has created a culture of impunity. Mr. Weah has so far resisted the pressure, saying that focusing on old crimes is not the best way to achieve development.

About 2.4 million people have registered to vote, with polls due to open at 08:00 GMT. A total of 19 candidates, including two women, are running against Mr. Weah, who took over from Africa’s first elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after she stepped down at the end of her two terms in 2018. Liberia’s main parties have pledged to uphold peace during the polls, despite clashes between rival camps in the final days of the campaign.