Liberia is witnessing a closely contested presidential run-off election between incumbent George Weah and former Vice-President Joseph Boakai. The first round saw a narrow margin of just over 7,000 votes separating the two candidates. Liberians are eagerly participating in this decisive election, which follows allegations of fraud and violence in the initial round. The election is crucial in shaping the country’s future, with both candidates focusing on key issues like agriculture, infrastructure, education, and unemployment.
Liberians are casting their votes in a pivotal presidential run-off election, choosing between incumbent President George Weah and former Vice-President Joseph Boakai. The first round of voting, held a month ago, resulted in a tight race with Weah narrowly leading Boakai by just over 7,000 votes, but neither candidate secured an outright majority.
President Weah, a former football star, received 43.8% of the votes in the initial round, while Boakai, aged 78, garnered 43.4%. The run-off was triggered as neither candidate achieved the required 50% majority. The October voting was marred by allegations of fraud and violence, including the arrest of nine election commission staff over ballot-tampering and reported clashes between rival opposition party supporters.
This election is significant as it marks the fourth presidential election since the end of Liberia’s devastating civil wars over 20 years ago, which claimed 250,000 lives. The BBC’s Moses Garzeawu reports from Monrovia that voter turnout is expected to be high, reflecting Liberians’ eagerness to participate in the democratic process.
Both Weah and Boakai have been actively seeking political alliances and endorsements, especially from the 18 other candidates who participated in the first round. Boakai, who served under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, has secured endorsements from three of the top-performing candidates in the first round.
In their campaigns, Boakai has emphasized investing in agriculture and infrastructure, while Weah has focused on improving education and addressing unemployment. This run-off is a rematch of the 2017 presidential election, where Weah defeated Boakai with 61% of the vote in the second round, buoyed by his international fame and promises to tackle corruption.
Polls opened at 08:00 local time and will close at 18:00, with vote counting to commence immediately afterward. The winner of this election will be sworn into office in January of the following year, marking a significant moment in Liberia’s ongoing journey towards stability and development.