Liberia’s Boakai Closes In on Presidency With Most Ballots Tallied

(Bloomberg) -- Liberia’s President George Weah conceded defeat as opposition leader Joseph Boakai took a commanding lead in a runoff vote to become the West African nation’s next president, after almost all the ballots were counted.

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Weah called Boakai to congratulate the former vice president as winner of the 2023 presidential runoff election, according to a statement on the Executive Mansion’s Facebook page.

“Liberians are the winners of the elections,” Weah said, urging his supporters to accept the results.

Boakai secured 50.9% of the vote with 99.6% of polling stations in the Nov. 14 poll tallied, the National Elections Commission said on Friday. Weah got 49.1%, it said.

A former AC Milan star and FIFA World Player of the Year, Weah’s support has been eroded by rising living costs and endemic corruption. Boakai, 78, who lost to Weah in 2017, campaigned on anti-Weah sentiment to build support.

Inflation quickened to 12.4% in June, the fastest pace in more than two years, before easing to 10% in September. The Liberian dollar is the eighth-worst performing African currency tracked by Bloomberg against the greenback this year — having depreciated almost 18%.

Boakai, who previously served as deputy to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has said he’ll boost economic growth by improving the nation’s infrastructure and increasing farm output.

Only 25 polling stations remain to be counted. One will be rerun on Saturday while the rest will be investigated for electoral malpractices, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, the chairwoman of the National Elections Commission, said.

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