MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — The Latest on Liberia’s election (all times local):
Voting is wrapping up in Liberia, where a runoff election already is expected because of the high number of presidential candidates.
Observers report long lines at many polling stations at closing time. Those already in line are being allowed to vote.
With 20 people running for the West African nation’s highest office, analysts do not believe anyone will win outright with just over 50 percent of the vote.
The election marks the end of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s tenure. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was Africa’s first female president and helped the country rebuild from years of civil war and the devastating Ebola crisis.
Among the front-runners are Vice President Joseph Boaka and former international soccer star George Weah.
Liberians have gathered in masses to elect a new president and legislature, an election that for the first time in more than 70 years will see one democratically elected government hand power to another.
As Africa’s first female president prepares to step aside, voters called for peaceful and fair elections on Tuesday.
Twenty presidential candidates are vying for a majority in the first round of elections, while nearly 1,000 candidates from 26 parties fight for 73 seats in the House of Representatives.
Many of the more than 2.1 million voters are calling for a president who will improve the economy and access to electricity.
Liberia’s health system was decimated by Ebola, a challenge for Nobel Prize-winning President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who also led Liberia’s transition from a 14-year civil war.