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Liberia president optimistic over runoff vote

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh
Associated Press / October 17, 2011

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MONROVIA, Liberia—Liberia's president says she's optimistic over a runoff after poll results show she failed to gain the majority needed to win outright.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said late Sunday she is ready for a Nov. 8 runoff against Winston Tubman. With 96 percent of polling stations counted, she led with around 44 percent. Election officials said the remaining results won't change much.

Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year with two other women, said she was disappointed she didn't win outright in the Oct. 11 vote.

"We have to be a bit disappointed because we wanted to win in the first round, but I accept it that's the will of the people," she said. "We came out very well ahead, our percentage is high even though we did not get over the 50 (percent) mark."

Harvard-trained Sirleaf was Africa's first democratically elected female president. She is viewed abroad as a reformer but Tubman's camp portrays her as out of touch with the impoverished population.

On Monday, police said assailants torched a radio station owned by an opposition supporter in the capital of the West African nation, though it was not clear what the assailants' motives were or if there was any connection to the poll.

Police spokesman George Bardue said the police arrested one suspect and are investigating.

Love FM chief Paul Mulbah said the assailants threw a petrol bomb into the station. He said the fire did not reach the studio and the station is back on air.

He said the radio station was warned three days earlier and said they informed officials.

Bardue said police have also arrested two suspects over a Saturday blaze at the local headquarters of the ruling Unity Party just days after the poll.

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