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President Weah Edges First Round In Liberia Vote

Liberian President George Weah will face a run-off election on November 14 after edging out his major competitor by less than half a percentage point in the first round, the National Electoral Commission announced Tuesday.

According to election commission chief Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, ex-international soccer star Weah received 43.83 percent of the votes cast in the October 10 poll, while Joseph Boakai received 43.44 percent.

With no candidate taking enough votes for an absolute majority to be elected, “the run-off vote is hereby declared to be held on Tuesday, 14th of November 2023,” she said.

This sets up a rerun of the 2017 election run-off, in which Weah, who was popular among many young people, was elected president.

After a disastrous first term, the 57-year-old has been chastised and accused of breaching commitments.

Many of the country’s poorest people’s living conditions have not improved, and corruption has increased.

Over the last three years, the US has sanctioned five prominent Liberian officials for graft.

Boakai, 78, has been a significant participant in national politics for nearly four decades and served as vice president from 2006 to 2018.

He has promised to rebuild the country’s image, build infrastructure, and enhance the lives of the most vulnerable citizens.

Despite election anomalies in the first round, such as illegal ballots being counted and issues identifying some voters, Boakai’s spokesperson Mohammed Ali told AFP the challenger was ready for the run-off campaign.

None of the other 18 presidential candidates won more than 3% of the vote in the West African nation’s first round of voting on October 10.

The 78.86 percent turnout for the first round of voting was described as “historic” and a “record” by the electoral commission.

International observers praised the electoral commission for conducting the first round so well. There were no significant occurrences.

Several people were killed in conflicts between supporters of the ruling party and the opposition during the campaign season, sparking fears of post-election violence.

The vote was the first since the United Nations’ peacekeeping operation in Liberia concluded in 2018.

The mission was established following the deaths of about 250,000 people in two civil conflicts between 1989 and 2003.

Written by PH

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