The outgoing President of Liberia, George Weah, conceded defeat in Tuesday’s presidential election to opposition candidate Joseph Boakai. Weah made this announcement in a speech broadcasted on the public radio, as the nation awaited the complete results of the election.
“Tonight, the CDC (Weah’s party) has lost the election, but Liberia has won. It is a time for grace in victory,” stated George Weah, the former football star who was elected in 2017. “The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Boakai has a lead we cannot overcome. I have spoken to President-elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory,” Weah added.
According to the results released by the electoral commission on Friday, with over 99% of the polling stations reporting, Joseph Boakai, 78 years old, secured 50.89% of the votes, while George Weah garnered 49.11%. Boakai maintained a lead of over 28,000 votes after the counting of approximately 1.6 million ballots. About 2.4 million Liberians participated in the elections on Tuesday, with a voter turnout exceeding 65%, as per the figures published on the electoral commission’s website.
Twenty Years On
The election took place two decades after the end of the civil wars in Liberia, which claimed over 250,000 lives between 1989 and 2003. The memories of these conflicts are still vivid in the West African nation. Supporters of Joseph Boakai celebrated the results by dancing outside one of his party’s offices in the Fiama district of Monrovia, as reported by AFP.
As the victor, Mr. Boakai will lead the English-speaking country of approximately five million people for the next six years. Liberia stands as one of the world’s poorest nations. Boakai, a seasoned politician, served as the vice president under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from 2006 to 2018, who was Africa’s first elected female head of state. He has held various positions in both the public and private sectors.
Alliance with Local Leaders
Boakai has pledged to develop infrastructure, attract investors and tourists, and enhance the living conditions of the impoverished, considering that more than a fifth of the population lives on less than $2.15 per day, according to the World Bank. He has formed alliances with local leaders, including former warlord and senator Prince Johnson, who supported Weah six years ago.