Liberians Vote in Tight Presidential Runoff

Tue Nov 14 2023
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MONROVIA: Liberians headed to the polls for a second-round presidential election on Tuesday, with incumbent President George Weah and his main rival, former Vice President Joseph Boakai, facing off. The second round was necessitated after no candidate secured the required 50%+1 in the first round of voting on October 10. 

Weah had secured 43.83% of the vote while Boakai, representing the opposition Unity Party, got 43.44% in the first round of election, announced by election authorities in the West African nation.

On the eve of the election, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission congratulated the candidates, their political coalitions, and supporters for a “largely peaceful campaign” that concluded the previous Sunday. However, the commission noted isolated incidents and hold-ups in a few flashpoints, resulting in bodily harm, injuries, and hospitalizations.

Nevers Mumba, a former vice president of Zambia leading the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, commended the peaceful atmosphere at polling stations, stating, “We salute the Liberian people.”

With 80 electoral observers deployed in the country, the commission urged stakeholders to commit to maintaining peace and stability in Liberia during and after the elections.

Incumbent President Weah, a former football legend, seeks reelection for another six-year term, promising increased prosperity for Liberia. Boakai, on the other hand, rallied opposition political parties to support him in redeeming the nation from what he described as a failed administration led by President Weah. Boakai pledged to form an inclusive government that reflects the country’s political, social, and religious diversity.

In the 2017 elections, Weah and Boakai also faced each other in the second round after Boakai trailed in the initial round. Weah won the 2017 second-round vote with 60%.

Polling for the current election began at 8 am local time and is scheduled to end at 6 pm (0800 GMT and 1800 GMT) for approximately 2.4 million registered voters.

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