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I have utmost respect for democracy – George Weah concedes defeat to Boakai

Liberian President George Weah, on Friday, conceded defeat after provisional results from the week’s runoff vote indicated opposition party candidate Joseph Boakai was beating him by just over one percentage point.

Election officials said that with 99.58 per cent of ballots counted from Tuesday’s election, Boakai was in the lead, with 50.89% to Weah’s 49.11%.

The results were a dramatic reversal from the election six years ago when Weah easily beat Boakai in the second round.

Weah gave a concession speech even before official results were announced, coming at a time when there have been growing concerns about the decline of democracy in West Africa.

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Weah said he had “the utmost respect for the democracy process that has defined our nation.”

“The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice.

“I urge you to follow my example and accept the result of the elections. Our time will come again in 2029, Weah said in an address to the nation, adding that Boakai “is in a lead that we cannot surpass.”

Recall that the West African region had seen a spate of military coups over the last several years, including one earlier this year in Gabon in the aftermath of a presidential election.

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Weah, a 57-year-old former international soccer star, won the 2017 election after his promise to fight poverty and generate infrastructure development.

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