Liberians Applaud President Weah For His Maturity To Concede Electoral Defeat
Following his nationwide impromptus address to the Liberian people conceding defeat after provisional results announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC) which showed his challenger, Joseph Boakai winning the runoff, many Liberians who earlier expressed fear of the results that it would been challenged by the governing CDC, say they are overwhelmed of the President’s conceding statement,
The Liberian President George Weah conceded defeat late Friday after provisional results from this week’s runoff vote showed challenger Joseph Boakai beating him by just over a percentage point.
Elections officials said that with 99.58% of ballots counted from Tuesday’s election, Boakai was in the lead, with 50.89% to Weah’s 49.11%. The results were a dramatic reversal from the election six years ago when Weah easily beat Boakai in the second round.
“The Liberian people have spoken and we have heard their voice,” Weah 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.
The concession speech given even before official results were announced in Liberia comes at a time when there have been growing concerns about the decline of democracy in West Africa. The region has seen a spate of military coups over the last several years, including one earlier this year carried out in Gabon in the aftermath of a presidential election.
Boakai, 78, served as vice president under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female leader. He appeared to have an upper hand in the vote because of the many Liberians aggrieved over the unfulfilled promises of Weah to fix the country’s ailing economy and stamp out corruption, said Ryan Cummings, director of Africa-focused Signal Risk consulting.
The outcome of the second round so far shows “public disaffection with his (Weah’s) administration with Boakai considered a viable alternative for a lot of Liberians,” Cummings said.
Weah is the only African to have won international soccer’s Ballon d’Or. He played as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City during an 18-year club career. His 23-year-old son, Tim, now plays for Serie A club Juventus and the U.S. national team.