With 99.97 percent of the total valid Presidential votes tallied, neither incumbent President George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) nor Joseph Boakai of the main opposition Unity Party (UP) has been able to reach the 50% plus one vote required by the Liberian Constitution to get a first-round victory.
On Thursday, October 19, 2023, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) said progressive consolidated tallied results put Weah at 803,956 amounting to 43.84%, while Boakai follows with 796,513 constituting 43.34 percent of the total valid votes.
Coming third is Edward Appleton of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM) with 2.20%, according to the 9th batch of progressive tallied results announced by NEC.
Neither President Weah nor former Vice President Boakai has reacted to the latest results from NEC, which means they will again have to face each other in a second round, something President Weah and his CDC had emphatically declared won’t happen.
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.
b. 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 October 10, 2023 presidential polls, 19 opposition politicians challenged Weah’s second term bid.
Despite a one round victory consistently preached by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) during the campaign, the ruling party has failed to claim a one round victory and is forced to go for a run-off with the Unity party.
Weah came to power in 2017 when he defeated former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in 14 of the 15 counties of Liberia. Weah’s critics say his administration was marred by massive corruption, disrespect for the rule of law, poor leadership, among others.
But supporters of the President say he has brought massive development in a poverty-stricken country where many Liberians live below US$1.00 per day while many lack purchasing power to meet their daily needs.
Weah campaigned on his developmental initiatives boasting of constructing more road, hospital and market buildings than any other President of Liberia since the formation of the country in 1847.
His main challenger, Joseph Boakai campaigned on rescuing the Liberian people under the banner, “Rescue Team.” Boakai who serve as Vice President of Liberia for 12 years under Liberia and Africa’s first female democratically elected President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says he is contesting the 2023 Presidential Election to rescue the citizens from the hands of a failed administration of Mr. Weah boasting of his corruption-free records.
With Weah and Boakai facing each other again in the run-off of the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Election, Liberians are wondering as to who will take the bride this time around as the opposition has vowed to retired President George M. Weah through the democratic means.