Joseph Boakai was on Monday declared winner of Liberia’s presidential election.
Boakai garnered 50.64% of the vote, defeating incumbent George Weah, who received 49.36% — a margin of just 20,567 votes.
Outgoing president praised for conceding defeat
Weah conceded defeat on Friday evening, based on results that had come in from more than 99.9% of polling stations.
“Liberia has won,” Weah said on radio.
He said that he had spoken to Boakai, who he referred to as “president-elect” to congratulate him.
“This is a time for graciousness in defeat,” he said, adding “our time will come again”.
He was praised by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for conceding defeat and initiating a non-violent transition of power.
“Liberians have once again demonstrated that democracy is alive in the ECOWAS region and that change is possible through peaceful means,” ECOWAS said.
The bloc has condemned military coups that have taken power in four of the fifteen member countries and threatened to intervene militarily in Niger to reinstate the civilian government.
Similarly, the African Union said it “hails the statesmanship” of Weah, while also congratulating Boakai on the win.
Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu also hailed Weah’s statement conceding electoral defeat.
“He has defied the stereotype that peaceful transitions of power are untenable in West Africa,” Tinubu said.
Who were the candidates in Liberia’s 2023 presidential election?
Boakai is a veteran politician who served as vice president between 2006 and 2018 and previously also as the minister of agriculture. He campaigned on a pledge to “rescue” Liberia from a number of issues, particularly corruption and a lack of basic services.Following the victory, the president-elect said that he would closely review mining concessions to make sure they benefit Liberia.
“To be frank with you, the mining sector has been one of the problems in this country. I have seen our resources exploited and the life of the people remains the worse,” Boakai told the Reuters news agency.
Critics have accused of corruption and failing to improve living conditions for poorer Liberians.
sdi/rt (AFP, Reuters)