Election officials in Liberia on Monday officially declared Joseph Boakai president-elect, three days after incumbent George Weah conceded defeat based on provisional results of the second round.
According to the National Electoral Commission, Boakai won with 50.64% of the second round votes while Weah got 49.36%.
“We are at the point where we will prepare for the transition, we will begin the plan for the inauguration as we begin the activities of governance,” Boakai, 78, a former vice president, said moments after he was officially declared the winner.
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Weah, a former international soccer star, has won plaudits in the West African country and abroad for his decision to concede defeat rather than challenge the result in court.
“This is a time for grace in defeat, a time to put country above party and patriotism above self-interest,” Weah said in his concession speech late Friday. He said his political career is not over yet.
In 2017, Weah easily defeated Boakai in the second round with 60% of the vote. However, his popularity later declined due to Liberia’s growing economic problems.
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Elsewhere, there have been growing concerns about the decline of democracy in West Africa. The region has seen a wave of military coups in recent years, including one in Gabon earlier this year, following presidential elections.