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Liberian President concedes election defeat, calls opponent to congratulate him

The Liberian President said in a radio broadcast that he had called his opponent Boakai to congratulate him on his election victory.

President George Weah (L) called Joseph Boakai (R) after it became clear that his challenger's lead could not be overhauled [AFP/Reuters]

Though counting was still ongoing in the runoff election, Boakai, a former vice president, took an unassailable lead of 28,000 votes, according to the country's election commission on Friday, November 17, 2023.

Addressing the nation during a radio broadcast on Friday, Weah showed magnanimity in defeat as he surrendered himself to the will of the Liberian people.

"The Liberian people have spoken and we have heard their voice," the former football megastar and Ballon dÓrr winner said.

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The outgoing president recorded a resounding victory against Boakai in 2017 when he was propelled by a wave of enthusiasm from young voters to score 62% of the votes.

However, his popularity has dwindled since he took office in 2018 after failing to implement the required economic reforms and his seeming lack of will to fight corruption, which remained one of the bane of the West African nation.

Weah went into the election with many disgruntled electorates who had grown disillusioned with the lack of progress as poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and poor electricity supply remained unsolvable concerns.

Earlier on Friday, the electoral umpire announced that 78-year-old veteran politician Boakai had 50.89% of the votes, while the incumbent had 49.11%.

In his five-minute address on national radio, Weah said, "A few moments ago, I spoke with president-elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory," adding, "I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections."

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The President's concession cleared the road for a second democratic transfer of power in the over seven-decade existence of Liberia, with the first being Weah's ascension in 2018.

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