Polls have opened in Liberia as citizens move to elect a new president to replace Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first democratically-elected female President in Africa’s history.
Up to 2.2 million voters will choose from 20 presidential candidates, as well as elect a new House of Representatives, as Liberia prepares to hand power from one democratically-elected leader to another for the first time in 73 years.
Liberia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, having gone through 14 years of civil war and a devastating Ebola outbreak.
Many agreed that Sirleaf’s two terms in office established peace and stability, but contend that poverty, unemployment and corruption still hold sway.
The incoming President is expected to build in on the stability established by Sirleaf and tackle the economic problems still facing the West African nation.
The top contenders include:
- Joseph Boakai, 72, current Vice President
- George Weah, 51, ex-AC Milan footballer and former World Footballer of the year
- Prince Yormie Johnson, evangelical preacher and former rebel leader during the nation’s 14-year civil war
- MacDella Cooper, 40, former model, the only female candidate in the race. Once had relationship with Weah
- Benoni Urey, 60, a wealthy businessman and founder of the country’s main mobile phone network as well as a leading food production company.
- Charles Brumskine, 66, Lawyer and popular opposition figure
- Alexander Cummings, former Coca-Cola executive, founder of the Alternative National Congress party.