Liberia: Can Weah Catch Boakai?

As NEC announces 5,107 of 5,890 polling places’ results, the incumbent’s chances grow slim

The National Elections Commission (NEC) continued its release of provisional results from the recent presidential runoff election on November 16. As the numbers were announced, Joseph Nyumah Boakai maintained his lead over incumbent President George Weah. Boakai, a former Vice President of Liberia, is positioned to potentially unseat President Weah, who is seeking a second term.

Weah's opponents have accused him of poor performance and a lack of leadership to guide the country's healing process and advance its social and economic goals. According to Davidetta Browne Lansanah, chairperson of the National Elections Commission, 5,107 out of 5,890 polling places nationwide have reported and tallied, marking 86.71 percent of the total. Boakai secured 712,741 votes, accounting for 50.58 percent, while Weah obtained 696,520 votes, constituting 49.42 percent.

Lansanah stated that Gbarpolu's election results were unavailable due to their delayed arrival at the tallying center in Congo Town. With 1,431,388 total votes reported, consisting of 1,409,261 valid votes and 22,127 invalid votes, the margin between Boakai and Weah widened with yesterday's results, increasing to 16,221 votes. As 13.29 percent of the votes remain to be tallied, Weah's chances of a successful re-election are diminishing.

This is particularly significant since most of his strongholds in the Southeast have already reported their numbers in larger quantities compared to the remaining areas, although the possibility of him retaining the highest office cannot be entirely ruled out.

Pending the announcement of additional results by NEC on November 17, the joint security, led by the Ministry of Justice, issued a warning against holding pre-victory rallies in Monrovia and other parts of the country until the final results are announced.

The security forces called on leaders from both the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Unity Party to advise their supporters against engaging in such activities. When approached for comment, Mohammed Ali, spokesperson for the Unity Party, expressed confidence that his party's candidate, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, would maintain his lead and be declared the winner once NEC concludes its work. However, Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala, spokesperson for the ruling CDC, did not respond to requests for comment.

Amara Konneh Warns NEC Against Heeding to CDC’s Pressure to Thwart Election Result

Amara Konneh, Senator-elect of Gbarpolu County, has warned the NEC against yielding to any pressure from the ruling CDC in relation to tampering with the results of the election.

Konneh, a former Minister of Finance and result-oriented public figure, led the establishment of a war room for the opposition Unity Party to gather election results from polling places across the country. He emphasized that the numbers from the war room are not official but are consistent with what NEC has been reporting, considering that all parties had poll watchers who recorded the same vote counts as the Commission.

Speaking on the popular Spoon Talk radio and online talk show, Konneh commended NEC's efforts so far but cautioned against any attempts to undermine the will of the people. He confidently stated that, based on their analysis, Boakai is Liberia's next president.

Konneh highlighted the counties where President George Weah received more votes than Boakai, such as Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, Rivercess, Bong, and Grand Bassa.

However, he noted that Boakai secured more votes in Nimba, Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Margibi, and Gbarpolu, which gives him the winning advantage over the incumbent leader.

Konneh indicated that the Unity Party would legally challenge NEC if the Commission announced Weah as the winner of the election, aiming to prove that Boakai had won. While it remains unclear where the CDC has obtained any results suggesting their victory, government officials, including Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, have been seen celebrating and expressing confidence in Weah's re-election through videos they have posted.

Konneh has been working at the World Bank since his last service as Minister of Finance and was brought to Liberia by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. And his endorsement of former VP Boakai in the runoff election seems to be the spark that reinvigorated the UP camp, leading it on a course to a historic victory over Weah, a populist leader.