Liberia’s leader faces tight run-off vote for second term against challenger

14 November 2023, 14:24

Liberian President George Weah
Liberia Elections. Picture: PA

The first round of balloting last month showed President George Weah neck and neck with rival Joseph Boakai.

Liberian President George Weah faced a tight run-off election on Tuesday as he seeks to defeat a repeat challenger and win a second term in the West African nation.

The former international footballer easily defeated Joseph Boakai in the 2017 run-off, but results from the first round of balloting last month showed the two neck and neck with Mr Weah with 43.83% of the vote and Mr Boakai with 43.44%.

“We are going to an election where nobody has a competitive edge with a wide margin,” said Ibrahim Nyei, executive director at the Ducor Institute for Social and Economic Research.

Liberia Elections
Liberian President George Weah casts his vote in Monrovia in the second round of elections (Rami Malek/AP)

In the weeks since the October 10 first round, the candidates have actively sought the endorsements of the other opposition parties.

Mr Boakai won the backing of the third, fourth and fifth-place finishers. While that amounts to only 5.6% of the vote, it could nevertheless tilt the run-off in his favour.

Mr Weah has received the support of two other opposition parties.

Liberia’s 2.47 million registered voters could have a lengthy wait for results. It took electoral officials two weeks to announce the results of the first round.

Liberia Elections
People queue to vote in the second round of presidential elections in Monrovia, Liberia (Rami Malek/AP)

Mr Weah said after casting his ballot: “I think, with everything that I have done already, the Liberian people will elect me.”

Observers said turnout by midday appeared lower than in the first round, when legislative candidates helped provide voters with transport to polling stations.

“Liberians can wait for last minute, and I am sure it will pick up,” Mr Boakai said. “I am in the race to win.”

Mr Weah won the 2017 election after his promise to fight poverty and generate infrastructure development. It was the first democratic transfer of power in the West African nation since the end of the country’s back-to-back civil wars between 1989 and 2003 that killed some 250,000 people.

Liberia Elections
Opposition candidate Joseph Boakai is confident of winning Liberia’s presidential election (Rami Malek/AP)

But the 57-year-old president has been accused of not living up to key campaign promises that he would fight corruption and ensure justice for victims of conflict.

Mr Boakai, 78, has campaigned on a promise to rescue Liberia from what he called Mr Weah’s failed leadership. He previously served as Liberia’s vice president under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female leader.

“These run-off elections represent the final push to remove terror, lawlessness, corruption, indifference, neglect and incompetence that have plagued our country for six years,” he told Liberians in his final speech before the vote.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Police officers pursue a deer down a hallway at Cedar Grove Elementary School in Toms River, New Jersey

Deer’s escape after breaking into US school captured on police bodycams

Police officers stand by the tail of a small plane that made an emergency landing in Villejuif, outside Paris

Small plane makes emergency landing in Paris suburbs

The mayor of Kyiv has claimed president Zelenskyy is becoming increasingly autocratic.

‘Zelenskyy is becoming an autocrat’ Kyiv mayor Klitschko says, as he warns Ukraine will soon be 'no different to Russia'

Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court in New York

Jonathan Majors assault trial starts with competing versions of confrontation

Manuel Rocha when he was US ambassador to Bolivia

Former career US diplomat charged with secretly spying for Cuba for decades

A UK city has been crowned the prettiest in the world, according to a study.

UK city crowned ‘prettiest in the world’ - putting Venice in second place

Aitana was created by an AI modelling agency.

‘Spanish influencer’ created entirely by AI generates its modelling agency £9,000 a month with 200,000 followers

In his victory speech in November, Mr Milei promised Argentina that "the reconstruction of Argentina begins."

'It's not a joke, it's a provocation!': Argentina launches another attack on Britain amid Falklands row

Binyamin Needham died fighting in the Gaza strip

British-Israeli teenager killed while fighting for the IDF in Gaza

Police near the Eiffel Tower after the attack

French investigators probe mental health of Paris attacks suspect

Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo

Guinea-Bissau’s president dissolves parliament after failed coup

Flooded streets in the town of Katesh

At least 47 dead and 85 injured after heavy rain and landslides in Tanzania

Municipal workers clear snow from pavements in Moscow

Disruption on roads and at airports as Moscow hit by heavy snow

Rescuers at the copper mine in Chingola

Hopes raised for survivors after more than 30 buried by landslide at Zambia mine

A US military CV-22 Osprey takes off from a base in western Japan

Divers find wreckage and remains from Osprey aircraft that crashed off Japan

Two people on a motorcycle ride past as Mount Marapi spews volcanic material

Indonesia’s Marapi volcano erupts for second day as 12 climbers remain missing