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Liberian President George Weah Concedes Close Election to Joseph Boakai
Joseph Boakai emerged victorious in Liberia's presidential election, which ended with a narrow margin of votes and a peaceful concession.
Liberia's presidential election has concluded with Joseph Boakai emerging as the nation's new leader, following the concession of defeat by his rival and sitting president, George Weah. This development marks a significant moment for the country, demonstrating a peaceful transfer of power in a region that has witnessed numerous military coups in recent times.
The country's elections commission reported on Friday that 78-year-old Boakai, a former vice president, secured a narrow victory with 50.9 percent of the vote, while Weah garnered 49.1 percent, with nearly all votes counted. Weah gracefully acknowledged the outcome in a speech on national radio, stating, "The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Boakai is in a lead that we cannot surpass." He emphasized the importance of graciousness in defeat, acknowledging that despite his party's loss, Liberia emerged as the ultimate winner.
Boakai's triumph comes after a previous defeat in the second-round presidential vote in 2017. The election last month saw both candidates finishing neck-and-neck, with Weah leading by a mere 7,126 votes at the end of the second round.
In contrast to recent regional incidents, such as the military coup in Gabon, this election avoided military intervention or contentious court battles over fraud allegations. Boakai's supporters took to the streets in Monrovia to celebrate his declared victory.
In an interview with Reuters, Boakai expressed excitement about the citizens' approval and outlined his priorities, stating, "First and foremost, we want to have a message of peace and reconciliation." Liberia, still recovering from two civil wars between 1989 and 2003 and an Ebola outbreak in the mid-2010s, faces significant challenges.
Boakai's victory signifies a comeback for the 78-year-old, previously known as "Sleepy Joe," who ran on a platform emphasizing economic investment through agricultural programs, infrastructure development, and prioritizing health and education. Boakai's focus on these key areas aims to address the pressing needs of a nation seeking to rebuild and progress.