Liberia’s President George Weah conceded defeat on Friday to opposition leader Joseph Boakai after a closely contested election.
Boakai, a former vice president who lost to Weah in the 2017 election, secured 50.9% of the vote, surpassing Weah’s 49.1%, according to the country’s elections commission.
The election outcome represents a significant reversal from 2017 when global soccer legend Weah won with 62 percent of the vote, riding a wave of hope.
However, disappointment grew over the years due to perceived lack of progress in addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and inadequate electricity supply.
The campaign period leading up to the election was riotous, marked by several deaths and incidents between rounds, raising concerns about potential post-election unrest.
The significance of this election lies in its occurrence 20 years after the end of Liberia’s civil wars, which claimed over 250,000 lives between 1989 and 2003. The memory of these conflicts remains vivid in the West African nation.
Notably, this election marks the first without the presence of the United Nations mission in Liberia, established in 2003 to ensure post-war peace and departed in 2018.
Weah’s concession is historic for Liberia, paving the way for the country’s second democratic transfer of power in over seven decades.