In the latest developments from Liberia, incumbent President George Weah has been unable to secure enough votes to secure an outright victory in the country’s elections. With nearly all the ballots counted, Weah obtained 43.79% of the vote in the October 10th poll, while former Vice President Joseph Boakai closely followed with 43.49%, according to provisional results disclosed by the National Elections Commission on Tuesday.
These figures, based on 98.4% of the nation’s 5,890 polling units, suggest that none of the candidates will attain the necessary 50% threshold to be declared the winner. It’s estimated that approximately 1.9 million out of the roughly 2.5 million registered voters participated in the election.
President Weah, a former FIFA World Footballer of the Year at the age of 57, is vying for another term after a tumultuous first six years characterized by an economic crisis triggered by rising food and fuel prices, which led to violent protests in December. In contrast, 78-year-old Boakai has leveraged widespread anti-Weah sentiment to garner support.
Liberia’s economy, rich in gold and iron-ore reserves, is still recovering from the aftermath of two civil wars that ended two decades ago and the devastating Ebola virus outbreak in 2014. Per-capita income remains a fraction of pre-civil war levels, with only about 7% of roads being paved.
The Liberian dollar ranks as the fifth-worst performing African currency against the U.S. dollar this year, depreciating by 18%.
In response to these challenges, the current administration has pledged to foster a conducive environment for business, reduce debt, stabilize the currency, and employ fiscal and monetary policies to combat inflation if Weah secures a second term.
Boakai’s campaign revolves around promises to boost agricultural production and infrastructure development to revive the economy.