Joseph Boakai, a seasoned politician, was named the winner of Liberia’s presidential election yesterday, defeating George Weah, the incumbent, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
Former international football star Weah received 49.36% of the vote, while Boakai received 50.64%, according to commission head Davidetta Browne Lansanah, who spoke to media.
According to AFP, Boakai earned a victory by a slim margin of 20,567 votes.
Based on the results from over 99.98 percent of the polling stations, Weah had already admitted defeat on Friday evening.
The former football star and leaving president received international acclaim yesterday for his concessions and his advocacy of a peaceful transition in a region plagued by coups.
The Economic Community of West African States noted in a statement that the Liberians’ actions once again shown the viability of democracy in the ECOWAS area and the viability of nonviolent revolution.
Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger are the four member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that have experienced violent regime changes since 2020.
Liberia is still recovering from two civil wars and the Ebola epidemic that occurred between 2014 and 2016. The election of Weah, the first African footballer to win FIFA’s World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d’Or, six years ago, had inspired great expectations for reform.
His detractors, however, claim that he and his administration are corrupt and that he has broken his pledge to help the world’s poorest people.
The leader of Weah’s party lost, but “Liberia has won,” he declared over the radio.
According to Weah, he congratulated the guy he referred to as the “president-elect” and asked his own followers to accept the outcome of the election.
He continued by saying, “Our time will come again” and that now was the moment to be gracious in loss.
Yesterday, the president-elect was congratulated by the African Union.
“All parties to continue to display maturity and embrace dialogue to consolidate democracy,” AU chair Moussa Faki Mahamat added.
– “Contradicted expectations” –
The West African group emphasised the importance of the post-election era and urged “the people of Liberia to maintain and safeguard peace and security.”
But according to the head of the electoral commission, Weah’s party lodged two appeals with regard to the Nimba County election on Friday.
In her words, the commission has 30 days to look over the matter and make a conclusion.
X (previously Twitter) comments from former Nigerian president and election mediator Goodluck Jonathan expressed his “deeply pleased” with the good outcome of the democratic process.
“To be magnanimous in victory and seek to continue the efforts to unite” Liberia, he urged Boakai, after congratulating him.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, president of Nigeria and a major player in the West African bloc, praised Weah for his surrender, saying it prevented a social and political catastrophe.
The idea that peaceful power transitions in West Africa are impossible has been disproven, according to Tinubu.
Senegal, Ghana, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Mali—all of which are governed by the military—will all hold presidential elections in 2024.