With just one percent of the tallied October 10, 2023 presidential ballots yet to be officially announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC), the results are obvious; neither CDC Weah nor UP Boakai is able to reach the required 50% plus one vote to win in the first round.
So, a second round of presidential election in Liberia is all but certain. On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) said progressive consolidated tallied results put Weah at 43.84%, while Boakai follows with 43.44%. Coming third is Edward Appleton of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM) with 2.20%, according to the 8th batch of progressive tallied results announced by NEC.
The requirement for a second round is stipulated in Article 83 of Liberia’s 1986 constitution. “Article 83 (a) states that, “Voting for the President, Vice-President, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year.
All elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run-off election.”
In the final results which was announced by NEC yesterday, Tuesday, October 24, 2023, the country’s electoral authority has announced a date for the expected sound round of elections between the two top candidates from the ruling CDC, incumbent President George Weah and the main opposition UP, former Vice President Joseph Boakai.
“One round victory” was what Weah and his 2023 elections CDC campaign team boasted of over the past months leading up to polling day.
Some CDC stalwarts, who have been assessing the Liberian political landscape and Liberian political governance experts, have all indicated that such a pronouncement was not realistic, amounting to an illusion.
Ever since the second post-war elections in Liberia, no presidential candidate has been able to win in the first round. Dr. Dr. Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei has said President Weah’s close Advisors deceived him about “winning one round victory.”
Dr. Nyei, the Director and Senior Research Fellow at the DucorInstitute for Social and Economic Research, told the local OK Fm radio in Monrovia on Monday that given the level of political alignments, there could not have been any one-round victory in the 2023 presidential poll.
The young Liberian academic, researcher and governance expert said that if he was President Weah, he would have by now sacked such close advisors who were insincere to him, thus deceiving him that he could have won a one-round victory.
Other political analysts, including Dr. Nyei, have also factored in the huge slate of 19 presidential candidates on the ballot who are challenging Weah’s 2nd term bid.
Many CDC stalwarts and sympathizers of the ruling party have realistically analyzed the slim possibility of a one round victory, pointing to the need for the party’s top brass to poise for a second round encounter with the presidential candidate coming second in the just-ended race.
Huge amount of Liberian taxpayers’ money was pumped into the October 10, 2023 elections campaign of incumbent President George Manneh Weah and his ruling CDC party, the European Union Observation Mission Mission in Liberia (EU-ECM) recently revealed in its post elections report issued Monrovia. EU Observers Report: “Widespread Use Of State Resources” By Weah’s CDC Broke Election Law – News Public Trust
In the Tuesday, October 24, 2024 edition of the pro-government Bana FM radio morning talk show, host Winston Blyden categorically stated that some of the CDC top officials who championed the “one round victory” mantra were only out “to steal” the 2023 campaign funds.
“Money, money, some of you wanted to steal campaign money. Everywhere President Weah goes, they follow. Some of you jump behind the President like fly running behind pupu (faeces).”
Winston Blyden, the Bana FM morning talk show host, Blyden added, “Boakai’s foot-soldiers were on their feet campaigning around the country.” Recently, www.newspublictrust.com Reporter, Kelvin Gonlah did a composite interview series with some supporters of the ruling CDC party to gauge their views on the implication of that pronouncement.
Christian K. Johnson: “There is no way any political party can win one round victory in Liberia, because we have 20 political parties and candidates in the race; each of them has vote. So any political party that say they will win one round victory is to make their opponents afraid. The election is competitive and anybody who wins this second round we should accept it.”
Muntari Zehum: “It wasn’t a political tactic, it was something clear that everyone heard the result on radio. I did not see the message that was preached by us (CCDCians) as a political tactic. It was actually planned that there was going to be a one round victory. I did not see my party, CDC being defeated in the first round, I see it like we were victorious in the first round.”
Robert Williams: “We were looking at the election to be a one round victory because we were looking at our national budget. Anyone who could take the lead with one or two points margincould take the victory and now we are the ones that are in the lead. For us (CDCians), we still have the strong believe that we will still make it we are going to the ballot box November 7 to vote our candidate, President George M. Weah again.”
Johnson E. Jsckpueh, “Actually, the one round victory was a political tactic because other political leaders tried to play their game and others even felt disappointed about results, the results that were given by the NEC. I believe that this second round from the results NEC provided based on the number of votes we obtained give us the chance to go for the runoff.”
Since Liberia’s second civil war officially ended in August 2003, this is the second presidential elections with an incumbent contending in a second term bid. Back in 2011, then incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the UP successfully defeated the CDC presidential candidate in the runoff election.
One of the CDC executive members and United States sanctioned former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill this week said on state radio, ELBC that there were some technical deficiencies that caused CDC to underperform in places like Margibi County.
Declining to say exactly what the technical lapses were, McGill who has been declared winner of the October 10 Margibi Senatorial election, sounded optimistic that the ruling party is going back to the drawing board to reinforce their campaign machinery in the expected second round in November.