Liberia election results: President George Weah calls Joseph Boakai to congratulate him
Liberian President George Weah has called his challenger in the presidential race to congratulate him on his victory, the information minister has said.
Opposition candidate Joseph Boakai holds an unassailable lead with nearly all the ballots accounted for.
The 78-year-old political veteran is more than 28,000 votes ahead and over 99% of polling stations declared.
A former football star, President Weah has been in power since 2018.
He came into the job on a wave of enthusiasm, especially from younger voters, having won that election – also against Mr Boakai – by a large margin.
But a perception that he had failed to tackle corruption, rising prices and continued high unemployment tarnished his image.
Earlier the electoral commission announced that Mr Boakai, a 78-year-old political veteran had 50.89% of the votes, while President Weah had 49.11%.
The results sparked celebrations in the capital, Monrovia.
Mr Boakai’s supporters gathered at his party’s headquarters in the city, convinced that he had won the election.
They called for President Weah to go, and chanted “We beat the Buga dancer” – referring to a song that became associated with his campaign.
The electoral commission says it has announced the results from 99.58% of the polling stations following Tuesday’s run-off election.
The vote at one polling station needed to be re-run on Saturday and discrepancies were noticed in results from 20 others, which are being investigated, National Elections Commission chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah said.
Mr Boakai’s supporters gathered at his party’s headquarters in Monrovia
The run-off between Mr Boakai and Mr Weah was triggered after neither candidate got over 50% of the vote in last month’s first round. There were 18 other candidates.
In that vote, the president got the largest share and was just 7,000 votes ahead of Mr Boakai.
The poll was the tightest presidential contest in Liberia since a civil war ended about two decades ago.
Mr Boakai’s campaigning focused on the need to rescue the nation from what he called “mismanagement” by Mr Weah’s administration.
The president dismissed Mr Boakai’s allegations, saying he had made significant strides, including introducing free tuition for university students.
This is the fourth time a presidential election has taken place since the war ended.
Observers from the regional bloc, Ecowas, deemed the run-off largely peaceful, AFP news agency reports.
But there were isolated incidents that led to “injuries and hospitalisations” in the provinces of Lofa, Nimba, Bong and Montserrado, it quotes observers as saying.