West Africa: Runoff election decides future head of state in Liberia

In Liberia, West Africa, there is a runoff election between President and former world footballer George Weah and his challenger Joseph Boakai.

West Africa: Runoff election decides future head of state in Liberia

In Liberia, West Africa, there is a runoff election between President and former world footballer George Weah and his challenger Joseph Boakai. Yesterday, after all votes were counted, incumbent Weah had a wafer-thin majority of 43.83 percent ahead of Boakai with 43.44 percent, as the electoral commission in the capital Monrovia announced. Since no candidate received an absolute majority, a runoff election between the two candidates with the most votes was scheduled for November 14th.

The electoral commission also announced that voter turnout reached a record of almost 79 percent of the more than 2.4 million registered voters. 20 candidates ran in the election on October 10th. According to the authority, around 10,000 national and international election observers were on duty. Nine election workers were arrested by the police because they were accused of violating the rules during the counting.

Corruption scandals overshadow election

There was already a runoff election in 2017 between Weah from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Boakai from the Party for Unity (UP). At the time, Boakei entered the race as vice president of the outgoing president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Weah won - and is now hoping for a second term in office. However, the government of the former football star, who played for top clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Chelsea FC, has been linked to several corruption scandals.

Despite its rich natural resources, the coastal state on the Atlantic is one of the poorest countries in the world. In addition to economic problems, many Liberians are particularly concerned about corruption and the slow process of coming to terms with the crimes of the civil war. Between 1989 and 2003 around 250,000 people were killed. Most war criminals went unpunished.

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