PHOTO CREDIT: CARIELLE DOE / REUTERS
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) in Liberia on Monday officially declared Joseph Boakai as winner of the presidential election after he defeated the incumbent president, George Weah in a keenly contested poll.
Boakai won with 50.64 percent of the vote, against 49.36 percent of the vote for former football star, Weah, as announced by Davidetta Lansanah, the president of the commission.
Boakai won with only a 20,567-vote margin.
Weah, however, already conceded defeat on Friday evening, based on the results of more than 99.98 percent of the polling stations.
SaharaReporters on Saturday morning reported that Weah conceded defeat late Friday after provisional results from the week’s runoff vote showed Boakai, beating him by just over 1 percentage point.
“The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice,” Weah had said in an address to the nation, adding that Boakai “is in a lead that we cannot surpass.”
“I urge you to follow my example and accept the result of the elections,” he said, adding that “our time will come again” in 2029.
Weah said he had “the utmost respect for the democracy process that has defined our nation.”
The 57-year-old former international soccer star 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.
This is the fourth election Liberia is holding in its recent history (since the end of its civil war).