The President of Liberia, George Weah has lost his re-election bid, and has conceded defeat to opposition leader Joseph Boakai in a tight presidential run-off.
The football legend in his concession speech on national radio on Friday said it was “time to put national interest above personal interest.”
“The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that… Boakai is in a lead that we cannot surpass,” Weah said.
The latest and nearly complete results showed Boakai leading with nearly 51 percent of the votes in Liberia. The country is Africa’s oldest republic founded by freed American slaves.
President Weah said that his CDC pasty “has lost the election but Liberia has won.” He went further to add that “this is the time for graciousness in defeat.”
78 year old Boakai had lost to Weah, 57, by a large margin in the second-round of presidential vote in 2017.
With more than 99.5% of the polling stations reporting vote tallies after Tuesday’s second-round vote, Boakai had garnered 50.89 percent of ballots cast.
Boakai was 28,000 votes ahead of Weah, according to Friday’s figures released by the election commission. The two finished neck-and-neck in the first round last month, with a national lead of just 7,126 votes for Weah.
The victory of George Weah at the polls in 2017 sparked high hopes for change in Liberia. The country was still coming out from back-to-back civil wars as well as the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic.
The Government lead by the once FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner faced criticisms of corruption. Weah himself was accused of failing to keep a promise to improve the lives of Liberians.
Joseph Nyumah Boakai served as the 29th Vice President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He previously served as the Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985.
He ran for president in 2017, and lost to President George Weah.