NPR is reporting that incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Unity Party is leading in Liberia's presidential election. Voting officials counted ballots Wednesday in Liberia's second postwar election, pitting the country's Harvard-educated president, who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, against a soccer star who just completed college this year.
Official preliminary results are not due until Thursday, but a media consortium that had sent observers to a large number of polling stations said that incumbent Sirleaf's Unity Party was leading. With just over 160,000 ballots counted — representing nearly 10 percent of registered voters — Sirleaf was leading with 50.5 percent.
Sirleaf, who is Africa's first democratically elected female leader, needs to get more than 50 percent of total votes in order to avoid a runoff, although most observers are expecting the race to go to a second round.
International and local election observers said that the election on Tuesday was peaceful, and there were no major breaches in voting and no serious incidents of violence. Liberia is recovering from a horrific 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, and Sirleaf shared last week's Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle on behalf of women and for helping maintain peace in Liberia since she took office nearly six years ago.
Read more at NPR.
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