Following this week’s runoff election, which saw challenger Joseph Boakai defeat George Weah by a margin of little over one percentage point, Weah announced his defeat.
Election officials stated that, with 99.58% of the votes from Tuesday’s election counted, Boakai had 50.89% of the total, compared to Weah’s 49.11%. The outcome was a stark contrast to the election six years prior, in which Weah defeated Boakai overwhelmingly in the second round. In an earlier address to the nation, Weah declared that “The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice,” and he added that Boakai was in a lead that he could not surpass.
There have been increasing worries about the erosion of democracy in West Africa, and this is reflected in the concession speech made in Liberia even before official results were revealed. Over the past few years, the region has witnessed a number of military takeovers, including one that occurred in Gabon earlier this year following a presidential election.
Although Liberia is considered to be among the most corrupt nations in the world, under Weah, the country’s reputation plummeted. Liberia’s average score on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index since 2018 has been 29 out of 100. Right now, it is ranked 136th out of 180 nations. Prior to Weah, Liberia had averaged almost 39 points in the previous six years.
Voters rejected Weah’s candidacy for a second term for a number of reasons, including the consequences of the drug epidemic and his inability to create a national war crimes court. One problem, though, sticks out: corruption. According to a report by Al Jazeera, it was the main cause of some of the largest demonstrations the nation has seen since the second civil war in Liberia ended in 2003.
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Following a fiercely contested presidential election in Liberia, George Weah has hailed opposition candidate Joseph Boakai, a 78-year-old who views age as a “blessing”.