Africa News Bulletin

George Weah and Joseph Boakai Contest Liberia’s Presidential Election.

Neither President George Weah (L) nor Joseph Boakai (R) got an outright majority in the first round.

Liberia is currently in the midst of a presidential run-off election following the first round, where two leading candidates emerged with a narrow margin of just over 7,000 votes separating them.

The country’s voters face a choice between incumbent George Weah, once a celebrated football star, and former Vice-President Joseph Boakai in this crucial run-off, triggered after President Weah narrowly won the initial round but fell short of securing more than 50% of the vote.

The earlier voting process in October was marred by accusations of fraud and violence. The election commission reported the arrest of nine temporary staff members over suspected ballot tampering, while the UN documented clashes between supporters of different opposition parties.

This election marks the fourth presidential vote in Liberia since the end of its brutal civil wars, which claimed the lives of approximately 250,000 individuals over 20 years ago.

In Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, reports suggest high anticipation and a significant voter turnout. Both Weah, who secured 43.8% of the initial vote, and Boakai, with 43.4%, are striving to forge political alliances among the 18 other candidates from the first round, none of whom gained more than 3% of the vote.

Boakai, previously the Vice-President under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female African head of state, has garnered endorsements from three of the four best-performing candidates. His campaign emphasizes investment in agriculture and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Weah’s focus has been on education improvements and tackling unemployment.

This run-off is a rematch between Weah and Boakai, as they previously competed in a presidential election run-off in 2017. Weah emerged victorious then, claiming 61% of the vote, buoyed by his international fame and pledges to combat corruption, particularly appealing to the youth and voters.

Polls opened at 08:00 local time (08:00 GMT) and will close at 18:00 local time (18:00 GMT). Following closure, vote counting will commence, determining the successor to assume office in January of the following year.

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