Liberian President George Oppong Weah gracefully conceded defeat to opposition leader Joseph Boakai in a closely contested presidential race. Boakai, a former vice president, secured an insurmountable lead of 28,000 votes, according to the election commission’s update on Friday, November 17, 2023, despite ongoing ballot counting in the runoff election.
During a radio broadcast addressing the nation, Weah acknowledged the will of the Liberian people, stating, “The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice.” This marked a significant departure from Weah’s resounding victory against Boakai in 2017, where he secured 62% of the votes fueled by youth enthusiasm.
Weah’s popularity had waned during his term due to challenges in implementing economic reforms and a perceived lack of commitment to combating corruption—a persistent issue in Liberia. The election revealed discontent among voters grappling with issues such as poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and unreliable electricity supply.
On the electoral front, the 78-year-old veteran politician Boakai emerged with 50.89% of the votes, while the incumbent trailed with 49.11%. Weah’s gracious concession in a five-minute national radio address set the stage for a historic second democratic transfer of power in Liberia, following Weah’s ascension in 2018. The outcome reflected a changing political landscape shaped by the electorate’s evolving priorities and concerns.