George Weah and Joseph Boakai will indeed face off in a tightly contested second round, according to the final results announced by the electoral commission on Tuesday.
Approximately 7,000 votes are separating the two candidates. George Weah secured 43.83% of the votes, while Joseph Boakai received 43.44% in the first round of the Liberian presidential election. These results confirm the trend indicated by provisional results over the past week. Only the results from a few polling stations in the Nimba, Sinoe, and Montserrado counties were pending because voters in these areas had to cast their ballots again.
Neither of the two main candidates was able to gather the necessary number of votes for an absolute majority. The race is now open to gain the support of the candidates eliminated in the first round. Of the 18 other candidates, none exceeded 3%. The candidate in third place, Edward Appleton, is far behind the two rivals, having received only 2.2% of the votes. There are three weeks until the second round, scheduled for November 14. During this time, each candidate will need to win over the supporters of the smaller candidates.
Despite George Weah’s immense popularity among the youth, many have been disappointed. Living conditions for the most vulnerable have not improved, and corruption has increased during his presidency. Joseph Boakai, on the other hand, has promised to enhance the lives of the less fortunate but has formed alliances with local powerbrokers, including former warlord Prince Johnson, which could work against him.
According to the Electoral Commission, nearly 114,000 ballots were invalidated in the first round. This loss was due to the lack of clarity in this election, according to political analyst Abdullah Kiatamba. “The process should be much simpler and more intuitive in the second round,” the researcher asserts. The voter turnout rate was 58.86%, so efforts will need to be made to reach out to those who did not vote in the first round.