Liberia President George Weah has conceded election defeat to 78-year-old opposition leader Joseph Boakai following a tight race in presidential elections.
Boakai, a former vice president who lost to Weah in the 2017 election, led with 50.9% of the vote over Weah’s 49.1%, with nearly all the votes counted, the country’s elections commission said on Friday.
Speaking on Friday after the results were announced, Weah accepted defeat saying the Liberian people have spoken and he has heard their voice.
“A few moments ago, I spoke with president-elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory,” Weah said on national radio. “I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections.”
Reuters reported that the result marks a stark turnaround from 2017, when global soccer legend Weah, buoyed by a wave of hope, trounced Boakai with 62 percent of the vote.
“Many have since grown disillusioned with the lack of progress: Poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and poor electricity supply persist,” Reuters reported.
The handover of power from Weah to Boakai marks the second democratic transfer of power in over seven decades after Weah also democratically took over from Ellen Johnson Sir-leaf six years ago.
Liberia is in West Africa, a region which, together with Central Africa, has seen eight military coups in three years including one earlier this year carried out in Gabon in the aftermath of a presidential election.