Special report by David S. Menjor

Official preliminary results in the presidential election, announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC) yesterday, showed Sen. George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) leading his nearest opponent, Joseph N. Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) by staggeringly wide margin of 31,150 votes.

The initial results could shock some UP supporters, since CDC appears to be making headways in regions that were once under the control of UP. However, a deeper analysis of the trends implied by these initial results shows that the margin of votes so far between the CDC and the UP is 10%.

According to the initial results released by NEC yesterday, the total valid votes counted so far amount to 349,357, out of a total of 371,378. The difference between these two figures constitutes the invalid votes, amounting to 22,021 (5.93%).

And what might lend hope to the lagging UP is the fact that the total valid votes so far can be divided into three nearly equal parts, albeit CDC having the larger share: 137,606 (39.39%). UP trails with 106,456 (30.47), while collectively the valid votes accrued to other 18 presidential candidates amounts to 105,295 (30.14%).

If the trend of valid votes continues as it has started, the possibility of a run-off might be almost unavoidable.  Then, in the case of a run-off, the battle between the two arc-hrivals would be for the 30.14% of those who voted for the other 18 candidates in order the reach the presidency.

Addressing both local and international journalists, as well as local and international elections observers, at the headquarters of the Commission, NEC chairman Jerome George Korkoya said the progressive tally report is not a final result; and as such, people should be mindful of how they go about interpreting it.

“The National Elections Commission is pleased to reemphasize that it is the only legally constituted authority that is given the mandate to conduct national elections and report their results as we are here to do today,” Korkoya said.

Announcing the results, he said inasmuch as 20 presidential candidates contested the most revered political seat, the CDC, UP and a very few of the remaining parties seem to have done well in accumulating votes as compared to the rest.

“It is important to note that only results from the NEC are official. Any other results from political parties or anyone else are unofficial and should not be considered as valid,” he noted.

Touching on the first progressive tally report for president and vice president, he announced that Sen. Weah as receiving, from yesterday’s report, 6950 votes (13.5 percent) while Boakai received 1,786 (8.3 percent) of votes in Grand Bassa County, after 78 of the 388 polling centers, which constitute 20.10 percent of the total results from the county.

In Nimba, the two contenders each received 1,848 votes (7.1 percent) of preliminary valid votes counted and 4,744 (18.1 percent) respectively, as 94 of the 699 polling centers (13.45 percent) reported; while Sen. Prince Y. Johnson again showed his control over the county by widely receiving 13,786 votes.

The CDC standard bearer received 12,883 and 28,233 votes respectively in River Gee and Bong counties. The two figures constitute 60.7 percent of 83 reported polls of 95 (87.37 percent) and 39.4 percent out of 241 reported polling centers of 502 overall centers, which amount to 48. 01 percent of the overall reported to the NEC. Boakai, meanwhile, received 3,369 and 24,367 votes from the two counties. The two results constitute 15.9 percent and 34.0 percent from 83 of the 95 centers.

In Gbarpolu and Rivercess, Weah received 3,075 and 2,873 votes respectively and the two results constitute 41.6 percent and 36.1 percent out of 26 of 133 centers (19.55 percent) and 31 of 97 centers (31.96 percent), while Boakai received 2,768 or 37.4 percent and 1,089 votes of the same centers across the two counties.

The heat between the two continued as the CDC standard bearer took a gigantic leap by obtaining 3,982 votes or (58.2 percent in the 28 reported centers of the 99 polling centers set up there) in Grand Kru, while Boakai received 742 votes, which amounts to 10.8 percent.

In Bomi and Sinoe, the football legend snatched 3,763 and 9391 votes respectively while the ruling Unity Party (UP) standard bearer got 2,807 and 1771 votes respectively. This means the two candidates got 44.4 percent; 69.3 percent and 33.1 percent and 13.1 percent respectively after 32 of 158 and 49 out of 136 polling centers.

Maryland gave CDC 3892 votes from 42 of 156 polling centers while the UP head received 1,612 votes. These constitute 36.2 percent and 15.0 percent respectively while Margibi gave the former 13,270 votes and 10,720 votes for the latter. The two results from Margibi are from 107 of the 382 polling centers, which constitute 42.8 percent and 34.6 percent of the votes counted.

Lofa, meanwhile, was dominated by Boakai as he snatched 27,614 votes from 123 of 417 polling centers while Weah got 2,036 votes. The two results account for 78.1 percent and 5.8 percent of the votes counted at the 123 polling centers. Going forward the CDC leader snatched 4,462 and 2,663 votes from Grand Gedeh’s 24 of 167 centers and 22 of 171 centers in Cape Mount County. The two results amounted to 76.1 percent and 46.4 percent respectively while Boakai got 704 and 2,152 votes each from the two counties. His percentages came up to 12.0 percent and 37.5 percent respectively.

More shocking to the ruling party is when CDC once again proved that it has control over Montserrado, the most populous county by snatching 38,285 votes while UP received 20,211 votes. The two results amounted to 50.4 percent and 26.6 percent respectively. Out of 1790 polling centers set up in the county 252 have so far reported.

Summing these results so far, Boakai has a total 106,456 while Weah has a total of 137,606 votes, leaving a margin of 31,150 votes. NEC will today continue its announcement of preliminary results.