By Festus Poquie
Political analysts are identifying factor that could determine the winner of the Nov. 14 presidential runoff election after a competitive first round of voting that left the nation without a clear winner.
The two top performers in the October 10 vote spent much of the runoff campaign period courting 18 candidates who dropped out in first voting series.
These candidates who underperformed during the first round of balloting share a combined votes of 229,754 or 12.095 of the 1.9 million ballot cast on voting day.
Opposition Unity Party has garner support from three of the four best finishers behind incumbent President George Weah and former Vice President Joseph Boakai.
collectively, the share of endorsements Boakai has received would still fall short of the 50% threshold required to secure victory, Maja Bovcon, senior Africa analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft told Reuters.
President George Weah and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change are approaching the runoff election with a game plan that could secure them a needed victory to extend grip on state power.
Courting people considered political underdogs such as unsuccessful candidates in the 2023 race for the Senate and the House of Representatives and are top strategy been executed in the build up to the November 14 vote.
The party is also directly negotiating with women and youth groupings and female candidates to vote Weah.
Invalid votes that amounted to nearly 6% of tallied votes in the first round could be the game changer. Returns from the Oct 10 2023 presidential election show that there was a very high number of invalid votes, which hit 114,639
How the candidates work to turn this number valid in an impactful way could land either the presidential victory.