The Liberian President George Weah conceded defeat to opposition leader Joseph Boakai on Friday November 17 2023, concluding a closely contested election and ensuring a smooth transition of power in the West African nation.

Boakai, a former vice president, secured 50.9% of the vote compared to Weah’s 49.1%, a notable shift from the 2017 election where Weah won with 62% support.

In a gracious acknowledgment, the first African to win the Ballon d’Or and be named FIFA World Player, George Weah stated on national radio, “I spoke with President-elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory,” urging others to accept the election results.

The ECOWAS commission echoed this sentiment in a letter, emphasizing that the election outcome reflects the will of the Liberian people and signifies the vitality of democracy in the ECOWAS region.

“The results of the elections not only represent the will of the people of Liberia, but they also indicate that democracy is alive in the ECOWAS region and that change is possible through peaceful means”, stated Omar Alieu TOURAY, President of ECOWAS Commission.

Despite initial hopes, George Weah’s presidency faced criticism for insufficient progress in addressing poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and electricity supply challenges. Liberia, still grappling with the aftermath of two civil wars (1989-2003) and the 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic, faces ongoing challenges in its path to recovery.