Liberia Gears up for Runoff Presidential Vote Next Week
© AFP 2023 JOHN WESSELSElection officials start to count votes after the general elections at a polling station in Monrovia on October 10, 2023.
© AFP 2023 JOHN WESSELS
In early October, the first round of the Liberian presidential election took place, with two candidates, incumbent President George Weah and former Vice President Joseph Boakai, emerging as the frontrunners. Now, the country is getting ready for the second round.
Next Tuesday, the Liberian citizens will head to the polls for the runoff election to determine who will become the nation's next president: Incumbent President George Weah or ex-vice president Joseph Boakai (2006-2018).
The President of Liberia is elected for a six-year term with a maximum limit of two terms in office.
Twenty contenders threw their hats into the ring in the first round of elections. Weah and Boakai received the most votes, leaving the other hopefuls far behind. Only four contenders managed to get more than 1% of the votes, the remaining 14 received only tenths of a percent.
The current election is an opportunity for Boakai to make up for his loss to Weah in 2017, when the latter won 61.54% of the vote.
Liberia encountered some serious challenges during the elections. At the end of September, before the first round of voting, the US slapped sanctions on Liberia in the form of State Department visa restrictions against persons who were "undermining democracy", that is, "manipulating or rigging the electoral process; using violence to prevent people from exercising their rights to freedom of association; using measures to prevent political parties," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken specified.
The West African country is still recovering from the 1989-2003 civil war and the 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic that took thousands of lives. In 2017, the country also held presidential elections, in which, Weah and Boakai turned out to be the main contenders.