December 3, 2023

Liberia run-off: Incumbent George Weah concedes defeat, calls for calm

Liberian President George Weah has called his challenger in the presidential race, Joseph Boakai, to congratulate him after he was declared winner of the keenly contested run-off election.

In an address to the nation the incumbent President said “the Liberian people have spoken and we have heard their voice”.

The country’s elections commission said on Friday that the 78 former vice president who lost to Weah in the 2017 election, led with 50.9% of the vote over Weah’s 49.1%, with nearly all the ballots counted.

While congratulating the newly elected president, Mr Weah called on Liberians to distance themselves from violence and accept the results of the elections.

“A few moments ago, I spoke with president elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory,” Weah said on national radio. “I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections.”

The decision to accept defeat clears the path for Liberia’s second democratic transfer of power in over seven decades without the fear plunging the country into chaos.

Mr Weah has been praised for relinquishing political control at a time when the West and Central African regions have witnessed eight military coups in three years, eroding faith in democratic elections.

Also, Observers from the regional bloc, Ecowas, said the run-off was largely peaceful.

The country is healing from two civil wars that killed more than 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003, and from a 2013-16 Ebola epidemic that killed thousands and the contestants have been praised for not adding more casualties to the old memories.

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