In a significant electoral upset, former Vice President Joseph Boakai has secured victory in Liberia’s presidential election, defeating incumbent President George Weah in the second round of voting held on Tuesday.
As the final count stands, with 99.58% of votes tallied from the nation’s 5,890 polling places, Mr. Boakai, representing the Unity Party, has amassed a commanding lead. Out of 1,625,684 total votes, he secured 814,212, surpassing President Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change, who garnered 785,778 votes. Voter turnout for the election reached 65.77%.
The outcome became apparent as Mr. Boakai maintained a lead of 28,434 votes over President Weah as of 4 pm on Friday. With a total of 25,694 ballots still pending counting, President Weah cannot bridge the gap even if he secures all the remaining votes.
The election, necessitated by the inconclusive results of the first round held on October 10, saw the top two contenders, Weah and Boakai, face off. Unlike the first round, where a candidate needed over 50% of the vote to win, a simple majority sufficed in the runoff.
President George Weah, acknowledging the results, reportedly said on national radio, “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.”
The United States Government has commended President Weah for accepting the election outcome. The State Department released a statement saying, “We congratulate President-elect Boakai on his victory and President Weah for his peaceful acceptance of the results.”
“Liberians deserve and expect free and fair, peaceful elections. We call on all citizens to follow President Weah’s example and accept the results. We congratulate Liberia’s institutions on a successful electoral process, especially the dedicated work of the National Elections Commission and the thousands of Liberians who worked the polls.”
With more than 2.4 million registered voters, the National Elections Commission oversaw the elections in all 15 counties of Liberia. The campaigns leading up to the election focused on critical issues such as the economy, social welfare, and the fight against corruption. Observers from local and international organizations ensured fairness and transparency in the electoral process.