Liberia presidential runoff: George Weah accepts defeat


Liberian President George Weah conceded defeat to his political rival and opposition leader Joseph Boakai late on Friday, following the presidential runoff election held in the West African country on Nov. 14.

This concession by Weah comes even as the National Elections Commission (NEC), which oversees the elections in the country, has yet to declare the final results, with over 25,000 ballots still awaiting tabulation as of Friday.

“The results announced tonight (Friday), though not final, indicate that (Ambassador Joseph N.) Boakai is in a lead that is insurmountable,” Weah said on national radio Friday night. “A few moments ago, I spoke with President-elect Boakai to congratulate him on his victory and to offer my sincere commitment to working with him for the betterment of our beloved Liberia.”

It is clear that former Vice President Boakai of the Unity Party is taking a lead following the recent presidential runoff in the country. According to results released so far by the NEC, with 99.58 percent of votes from the country’s 5,890 polling places counted, Boakai has so far garnered 814,212 votes compared to the 785,778 scored by Weah, the standard-bearer of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) party.

Data made available by the NEC on Friday indicated that the opposition leader is currently leading the incumbent president by 28,434 votes. The total outstanding ballots for counting are 25,694, which would not be sufficient to catch up with Boakai, even if Weah receives all the pending votes.

Boakai has secured 50.9 percent of the votes so far, while Weah has attained 49.1 percent, as mentioned by Davidetta Lansanah, head of the NEC, during a media briefing on Friday evening in the national capital of Monrovia.

In his radio broadcast on Friday, Weah expressed his commitment to a smooth transition of power and urged his supporters to remain calm and respectful of the democratic process. He also pledged to support the Boakai administration for a more prosperous Liberia.

“Tonight, the CDC has lost the election, but Liberia has won. This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest. I remain your president until the handover of power, and I will continue to work for the good of Liberia,” the Liberian leader said, adding “Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together as one nation and one united people.”

The NEC, under immense pressure to deliver accurate and transparent results, assured the public that the remaining ballots would be meticulously counted, and the official outcome would be announced at the earliest possible time.

In 2017, Weah defeated Boakai with 62 percent of the vote following a presidential runoff.

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