President-elect Joseph Boakai (left) and outgoing President George Weah (Courtesy photo)
President-elect Joseph Boakai (left) and outgoing President George Weah (Courtesy photo)

Liberia鈥檚 president, George Weah, conceded defeat on Friday night in his bid for a second term, after a tight runoff against Joseph Boakai and in an election that was considered a test of democracy in the West African nation.

Mr. Boakai, a 78-year-old political veteran who had served as vice president for 12 years under the former president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, defeated Mr. Weah, a 57-year-old former soccer star, by a razor-thin margin.

The country鈥檚 national election commission stopped short of declaring a winner on Friday afternoon, but announced that with more than 99% of the ballots counted, Mr. Boakai held 50.89% of the votes, and Mr. Weah 49.1%. It was the nation鈥檚 tightest election in two decades, and a rematch of the election in 2017, when Mr. Weah handily beat Mr. Boakai.

President Weah said in a radio address broadcast late on Friday night: 鈥淭onight, the CDC has lost the election, but Liberia has won.  This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest . . .  Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together as one nation and one united people.鈥

In a statement on the election results, the U.S. Department of State said, 鈥淭he United States congratulates the people of Liberia on holding a peaceful presidential runoff election.  We note the broad participation of Liberians across the country and applaud the commitment and dedication of Liberian citizens in exercising their right to vote and in engaging in the electoral process peacefully.

鈥淟iberians deserve and expect free and fair, peaceful elections,鈥 the State Department statement continued. 鈥淲e call on all citizens to follow President Weah鈥檚 example and accept the results.  We congratulate Liberia鈥檚 institutions on a successful electoral process, especially the dedicated work of the National Elections Commission and the thousands of Liberians who worked the polls.鈥

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