Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Joseph Boakai officially elected president of Liberia

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Joseph Boakai wins Liberia's presidential elections against incumbent President George Weah, who was in office for the past six years.

Agence France-Presse

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The veteran of Liberian politics Joseph Boakai was officially declared the winner of the presidential election on Monday against outgoing George Weah, whose elegance in accepting defeat was praised on the African continent and elsewhere in the world.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Mr. Boakai, 78, will take charge of this English-speaking country of around five million inhabitants, one of the poorest in the world, for six years.

This old hand was the vice-president of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female head of state in Africa, between 2006 and 2018. He held numerous positions at within the state or the private sector.

He won with 50.64% of the vote, compared to 49.36% of the vote for Mr. Weah, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, president of the electoral commission, announced to the press on Monday after counting all the ballots. vote.

Mr. Boakai, who was ahead of Mr. Weah by only 20,567 votes out of just over 1.6 million voters, has remained strangely silent until now, while his supporters have been celebrating across the country since Friday with dancing. in the street and waving flags bearing his image.

Mr. Weah, elected in 2017 and seeking a second term, recognized the victory of his opponent on Friday evening in view of the almost final results, attracting praise from abroad for thus promoting a non-violent transfer of power.

Our time will come again, said the 57-year-old former soccer star, whose intentions after the official end of his presidency in January 2024 remain unknown.

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George Weah's elegance in accepting his defeat in Liberia's presidential elections has been praised across the African continent. (File photo)

Beyond the choice of the person called to lead this country in search of stability after the years of civil war and the Ebola epidemic, one of the issues of the election was the peaceful and regular conduct of the vote, while democracy in West Africa has been undermined in recent years by a succession of coups d'état, notably in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

The president of the electoral commission nevertheless indicated that the latter had received two appeals from Mr. Weah's party on Friday against the conduct of the election in the Nimba County. The commission has 30 days to investigate and make a decision, she added.

The African Union (AU) on Monday congratulated Joseph Boakai on his election and praised the sense of state of George Weah, also inviting all the parties to continue to demonstrate maturity and engage in dialogue to consolidate democracy.

Liberians have demonstrated once again that democracy is alive in the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] space and that change through peaceful means is possible. , welcomed ECOWAS in a press release, at the forefront of the abrupt regime changes since 2020.

Mr. Weah countered the conventional wisdom that democratic transitions were untenable in West Africa, said Nigeria's President, ECOWAS heavyweight Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In Washington, Joe Biden also congratulated Joseph Boakai for winning a free and fair presidential election.

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The election went well in Liberia, despite the apprehensions of several observers who feared an outcome similar to that of other countries in West Africa. (File photo)

I also want to salute George Weah for having respected the will of the people and having put patriotism before political calculation, the American president further commented in a press release, estimating that the Liberian people had shown the example in Africa of the West and around the world.

Several presidential elections are planned in 2024 in West Africa: in Senegal, Ghana, in Mauritania, and theoretically in Mali and Burkina Faso, led by the military.

This election was the first organized without the presence of the United Nations mission in Liberia. The latter operated from 2003 to 2018 to guarantee peace after civil wars.

Clashes during the campaign left several dead. Incidents were reported between the two rounds, raising fears of a turbulent election aftermath, especially in the event of a close outcome.

The vote was followed by numerous foreign and Liberian observers, and European Union and ECOWAS missions welcomed the generally peaceful conduct of the second round.

The election took place 20 years after the end of the civil wars in Liberia, which left more than 250,000 dead between 1989 and 2003 and whose memory remains vivid. The shadow of this bloody history has fueled concern, which Mr. Weah largely dispelled on Friday by bowing to Mr. Boakai.


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