Liberia opposition leader takes slight lead in run-off vote – early results

MONROVIA (Reuters) -Liberian opposition leader Joseph Boakai has a slight lead over President George Weah in a run-off election after results from about 22% of polling stations, the West African country’s elections commission said on Wednesday.

Boakai and Weah emerged neck-and-neck from the first round of the presidential election but below the 50% needed to secure an outright victory. The run-off is also expected to be closely fought.

Boakai is so far on 50.71% of the vote, while Weah has 49.29%, the commission said, based on results tallied from 22.33% of polling stations.

Weah has asked voters for more time to make good on his first-term promises to root out corruption and improve livelihoods. Liberia is still suffering the fallout from two civil wars between 1989 and 2003, and the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic that killed thousands.

Boakai, 78, who lost to Weah in the 2017 election, has campaigned on the need to rescue the nation from what he calls mismanagement by Weah’s administration.

(Reporting by Carielle Doe and Alphonso Toweh; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Alexander Winning)