In a significant development for the region, Joseph Boakai has been declared the winner of Liberia’s presidential election after his rival and incumbent President George Weah gracefully conceded defeat. The country’s elections commission announced on Friday that Joseph Boakai , a former vice president, secured a narrow victory with 50.9 percent of the vote, while Weah received 49.1 percent, with nearly all votes counted.
Addressing the nation, Weah acknowledged the voice of the Liberian people and urged others to accept the election results, saying, “I urge you to follow my example and accept the result of the elections.” He added that their time would come again in 2029 when Boakai’s six-year term concludes. The outcome marks a significant shift from the 2017 election when Weah, a former international football star, won comfortably with 62 percent of the vote, riding a wave of public hope and promising to combat poverty, improve infrastructure, and tackle corruption.
However, over time, voters grew disillusioned as Weah faced criticism for failing to deliver on his promises to address the country’s challenges. Despite the disappointment, Weah’s concession even before the final official tally demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power, which is noteworthy considering the region’s history of military coups. In the past three years alone, the region has witnessed eight military coups, raising concerns about the stability of democratic processes.
Earlier this year, Gabon experienced a coup following a presidential election, joining the list of nations in the region grappling with political instability. When elections are not marred by military intervention, they often face legal challenges with accusations of fraud.
Following the announcement of Boakai’s victory, his supporters took to the streets in the capital city of Monrovia to celebrate. Joseph Boakai expressed his gratitude to the citizens, stating, “We have a job ahead of us to do, and I’m excited that the citizens have given us approval.” He emphasized the importance of peace and reconciliation as Liberia seeks to recover from two devastating civil wars between 1989 and 2003, which claimed the lives of at least 250,000 people, as well as the Ebola outbreak in the mid-2010s, which resulted in thousands of deaths.
Joseph Boakai’s ascension to the presidency marks a new chapter for Liberia as the nation strives for stability, unity, and progress in the face of significant challenges.