Liberia Election: President Weah concedes defeat, congratulates Boakai

Liberian President George Oppong Weah has conceded defeat to opposition leader and challenger Joseph Boakai in the hotly-contested presidential race.

Although counting was still ongoing in the runoff election, Boakai, a former vice president, took an unassailable lead of 28,000 votes, according to the country’s election commission on Friday, November 17, 2023.

Addressing the nation during a radio broadcast on Friday, Weah showed magnanimity in defeat as he surrendered himself to the will of the Liberian people.

President Wear spoke referencing the results of the run off presidential elections held November 14, 2023.

“I stand before you tonight with a heavy heart, but with the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation. As your President and the leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, I want to address you on the outcome of the run-off elections held on November 14, 2023.

“The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai is in a lead that is insurmountable. A few moments ago, I spoke with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to congratulate him on his victory and to offer my sincere commitment to working with him for the betterment of our beloved Liberia.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Boakai, his supporters, and his campaign team. May his presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership.

“Tonight, as we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia. Through your peaceful and orderly exercise of your constitutional right to vote, you have once again demonstrated your commitment to the democratic principles that bind us together as a nation.

“This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest.

“Under my leadership, these elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, transparency, and credibility. I am proud to say that, for the most part, we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and their choice will be honored and obeyed.

“At this juncture, I would like to congratulate the National Elections Commission for a job well done. You have earned the respect of all Liberians, our foreign partners, international observers, and the world at large for completing this difficult task to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, including the contesting parties.

“However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country. As we transition to the new Boakai administration, we must be vigilant to the dangers of division and work together to find common ground. Now, more than ever, unity is paramount for the love of Mama Liberia.

“To the members of the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change, fellow partisans, CDCians, Weahcians, auxiliaries, first-time voters, campaign managers, and party leaders, I understand that this is not the outcome we desired. Although we did not emerge victorious, your hard work and support have been the backbone of our campaign, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

“I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections. Go home tonight with the knowledge that our ideals and vision for Liberia remain strong. We are a young movement, and our time will come again. Tomorrow, resume your daily activities in a normal way, and come and join me at our party headquarters to reflect on our journey and plan for our return to political leadership in 2029.

Recall the outgoing president recorded a resounding victory against Boakai in 2017 when he was propelled by a wave of enthusiasm from young voters to score 62% of the votes.

But his popularity dwindled since he took office in 2018 after failing to implement the required economic reforms and his seeming lack of will to fight corruption, which remained one of the bane of the West African nation.

Weah went into the election with many disgruntled electorates who had grown disillusioned with the lack of progress as poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and poor electricity supply remained unsolvable concerns.

Earlier on Friday, the electoral umpire announced that 78-year-old veteran politician Boakai had 50.89% of the votes, while the incumbent had 49.11%.

In his five-minute address on national radio, Weah said, “A few moments ago, I spoke with president-elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory,” adding, “I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections.”

The President’s concession cleared the road for a second democratic transfer of power in the over seven-decade existence of Liberia, with the first being Weah’s ascension in 2018.

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