Elections: Liberia faces change of government: Weah admits defeat

Elections: Liberia faces change of government: Weah admits defeat

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Now, after a close runoff election for the presidency, a change of power is looming. Incumbent Weah, a former world footballer, warns of a split.

Liberia faces a change of government after a close runoff election. Incumbent and former world footballer George Weah admitted his defeat against challenger Joseph Boakai. Weah said he congratulated Boakai on his victory.

The results indicated that Boakai had an unassailable lead. Liberians are the winners of the elections, Weah said, calling on his supporters to accept the results. After almost all votes were counted, Boakai led with 50.9 percent, ahead of Weah with 49.1 percent, media reported, citing the electoral commission. The US congratulated Boakai.

Deep divisions in the country

Weah won the first round of elections on October 10 by a narrow margin with 43.83 percent of the vote, ahead of Boakai with 43.44 percent. The runoff election in the West African country was on Tuesday. The government of former football star Weah, who played for top clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Chelsea FC, has been linked to several corruption scandals.

Boakai was vice president from 2006 to 2018 under Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Both candidates promised jobs and investments in the heavily indebted country’s infrastructure.

Weah said: “The Liberian people have spoken and we have heard their voice.” However, the close results revealed deep divisions in the country. “As we transition to a new government, we must be mindful of the dangers of division and work together to find common ground.”

Call of the USA

The US welcomed Weah’s peaceful acceptance of the results. “We call on all citizens to follow President Weah’s example and accept the results,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

There was already a runoff election in 2017 between Weah from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Boakai from the Party for Unity (UP). Weah won at that time with 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent.

Despite its rich natural resources, the coastal state on the Atlantic is one of the poorest countries in the world. In addition to economic problems, many Liberians are particularly concerned about corruption and the slow process of coming to terms with the crimes of the civil war. Between 1989 and 2003 around 250,000 people were killed. Most war criminals went unpunished.

Source: Stern

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