Liberia elections: runoff between George Weah and Joseph Boakai

2023 10 06 WEAH UN ASSEMBLY scaled
FILE PHOTO: Liberia's President George Weah arrives to address the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Liberia’s President George Weah and his opponent Joseph Boakai are currently in a very tight race in the Liberian presidential elections that took place on October 10th. After nearly 99,7% of polling stations have been counted, Weah has secured 43.84% of the counted votes, while Boakai is very close behind with 43.44%, following the elections held on October 10th.

A runoff election will be held on November 7, as no candidate managed to surpass the 50% threshold.

In the previous 2017 elections, Weah, a former football star, won the runoff with 61.5% of the vote compared to Boakai’s 38.5%. He had also led in the first round with 38.4% against Boakai’s 28.8%, suggesting that Boakai is closing the gap in this election.

Over 2.4 million Liberians, including many first-time voters born after the civil wars that occurred from 1989 to 2003, registered to vote for the president, members of the House of Representatives, and half the Senate. Reports from local and regional election observers indicate peaceful polls and a high voter turnout across the country, although some polling stations experienced voting delays.

Liberia is still recovering from the devastating civil wars that ended two decades ago, resulting in an estimated 250,000 casualties. Analysts suggest that this may be Boakai’s final attempt at the presidency. The 78-year-old former vice-president has campaigned under the slogan “Rescue,” arguing that Liberia’s situation deteriorated during Weah’s initial six years in office.

Weah, aged 57, has rejected Boakai’s claims and pointed to achievements in his first term, including the introduction of free university tuition. He ruled out the possibility of losing, but declared he will accept the election’s outcome for the sake of the country’s peace and stability.

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