December 3, 2023

Liberia heads for fierce runoff to elect president after keenly contested first round

Liberia’s election management body, the National Election Commission (NEC), is set for the forthcoming presidential election rerun following the inability of any of the top candidates to secure more than 50 per cent of votes cast in the first round of the election.

President George Weah and former vice president Joseph Boakai will face each other in the repeat of the 2017 election next Tuesday.

The runoff follows a keenly contested first round in which none of the leading contenders was able to record over 50% of the vote to be declared an outright winner.

George Weah, who is the incumbent President, led the first round after he recorded 43.83% of the vote, and his main opponent, Joseph Boakai had 43.44%.

The second round of votes is a repeat of the 2017 runoff, in which Weah defeated Boakai with 61.54% thanks to public backing.

He was elected on the promise of fighting corruption and improving livelihoods in the West African country that is still recovering from two civil wars between 1989 and 2003, as well as the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak that killed thousands of people.

Despite his victory during the last poll, the incumbent leader has come under severe criticism due to rising corruption, high rate of youth unemployment, food inflation, and general economic hardship.

To win the election, both candidates have received backings from parties and candidates that lost out from the first round.

The second round of votes, which could be more intense as predicted by experts, will test the popularity of the main Liberian political gladiators.

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