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Liberia's Sirleaf Leads Early Election Tally


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also Liberia's president and presidential candidate of the Unity Party, votes at a polling station in Feefee in Bomi County, Liberia, October 11, 2011.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also Liberia's president and presidential candidate of the Unity Party, votes at a polling station in Feefee in Bomi County, Liberia, October 11, 2011.

Initial results from Liberia's presidential election show incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf falling short of the majority needed to avoid a run-off election.

Liberia's election commission said Thursday that Sirleaf has won about 42 percent of the vote, though, with her closest rival Winston Tubman at about 25 percent.

Final results are not expected until October 26. A candidate needs more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright.

The run-off election, if necessary, would be held November 8.

The independent Liberia Media Center says its unofficial results - compiled from tallies posted at voting centers - show President Sirleaf with a smaller lead of 44 to 36 percent.

Both the official and unofficial results showed senator Prince Johnson running third with at least 10 percent of the vote.

Liberians also voted in legislative elections Tuesday. It was the country's second national election since the end of a 14-year civil war in 2003.

The U.S.-based Carter Center said Friday that Liberia's election was "peaceful, orderly and remarkably transparent," although it noted some minor irregularities.

Sirleaf is facing a tough fight for a second term, just days after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Critics have questioned the timing of last Friday's announcement of the Nobel Prize, which Sirleaf won along with two other women. They say it could provide her with an unfair boost.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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