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George Weah concedes defeat to Boakai in Liberia presidential poll


The incumbent president of Liberia, George Weah, has conceded defeat to his opposition from another political party, Joseph Boakai, in the ongoing Presidential election in the country.

Weah conceded defeat on Friday evening after nearly complete returns, showed opposition leader Joseph Boakai leading with 50.89 per cent of the vote.

According to the football legend, it is the time to put the national interest above personal interest, noting that his political party has lost but the country has won.

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the CDC (party) has lost the election, but Liberia has won.

This is the time for graciousness in defeat, to put national interest above personal interest,” Weah said in a speech on national radio.

Weah said he had spoken to Boakai “to congratulate him on his victory”.

“The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice. However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country,” Weah said in his speech.

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The results published by the electoral commission after calculating the ballots from more than 99 percent of polling stations, gave Weah 49.11 percent of the votes cast.

However, the 78-year-old Boakai defeated the incumbent president by over 28,000 votes in the election.

No fewer than 2.4 million Liberians were eligible to vote in the election on Tuesday, but no turnout figures have been released.

Dozens of Boakai’s supporters danced in celebration outside one of his party’s offices in the capital Monrovia, in celebration of the victory of the candidate, who has been casting to victory in the election.

Joseph Boakai, who is expected to win the Liberia presidency after the incumbent president conceded election defeat, has no less than four decades of political experience.

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He served as vice president from 2006 to 2018 to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president, who rebuilt the ravaged country after a civil war left an estimated 250,000 dead.

This year’s election is Boakai’s second run for Liberia’s top job after he lost to President George Weah in a 2017 run-off.

The two political figures faced off again in a second-round vote on Tuesday, following last month’s hard-fought first ballot, in which none of them secured an outright victory.

Boakai had criticized the record of the president and emphasized his own experience in office, proposing a “rescue plan” for the West African country.

He also pledged to improve infrastructure, invest in agriculture, attract investment, open the country to tourism and restore Liberia’s reputation.

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“His motivation is to rescue Liberia from the current state it is in,” Mohammed Ali, Boakai’s Unity Party spokesman, told AFP ahead of the vote.

Ali emphasized an “influx of illicit drugs, the increase in the poverty rate (and) the image of the country being so low” as problems that have worsened under Weah’s presidency.

However, Broaka’s strategy seemed to have worked because six years ago, he won 28.8 per cent in the first round and 38.5 per cent in the second, but he pulled level with Weah in this year’s first round, with both receiving about 43 per cent of the vote.

With almost all the polling stations summed up after the latest run-off, Boakai had garnered 50.89 per cent of votes against Weah’s 49.11 in the current votes.