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Soccer star Weah and VP Boakai near Liberia presidential run-off

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Soccer star Weah and VP Boakai near Liberia presidential run-off

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MONROVIA (Reuters) – Former soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai held commanding leads in provisional presidential election results announced on Saturday, setting up a likely run-off next month between the two men. Weah and Boakai lead the 20-candidate field to succeed Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in what would be Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years. Weah received 39.2 percent of nearly 1.2 million ballots cast in nearly three-quarters of polling places, leading Boakai who had 29.6 percent of the vote, the commission said. Charles Brumskine, a lawyer, was a distant third with 9.7 percent. The final certified results from Tuesday’s poll must be announced by Oct. 25, although provisional results from the remaining precincts are expected in the coming days. The commission said that ballots would be re-cast in two polling places in Nimba County due to irregularities, although that measure only concerns a few thousand votes. Brumskine has said the vote was marred by fraud and that he would request a re-run of the vote. However, he has yet to produce evidence of cheating and international observers said they saw no major problems.

(Reporting James Giahyue; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Andrew Bolton)
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