The story of UNMIL [Book]: The election of President George Weah
On 29 December 2017, the National Elections Commission (NEC) Chair announced the final results of the 26 December presidential run-off, declaring Senator George Weah, of the Coalition for Democratic Change, President of Liberia.
He is the second democratically elected president since the Liberian civil war that ended in 2003. His predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had been elected to serve the previous two six year terms. Term limits meant she could not run again.
Two rounds of voting were held, as the first round on 10 October 2017 failed to produce a majority for any candidate. The two top finishers of the first round competed in the run-off, when Mr. Weah received 732,185 votes (61.5 per cent). Liberia’s sitting Vice President, Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP) came in second with 457,579 votes (38.5 per cent).
The NEC also reported that 1,218,124 people voted in the presidential run-off, representing 55.8 per cent of Liberia’s registered voters. In the first round, with the turnout of 75.2 per cent, Senator Weah led with 38.4 per cent of the votes, while Vice President Boakai placed second with 28.8 per cent followed by Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party with 9.6 per cent. Complaints of irregularities led to an NEC investigation and a ruling by the Supreme Court before the second round was scheduled.
On the day Mr. Weah’s victory was announced, he and Vice President-elect Jewel Howard Taylor told the final session of the outgoing Senate that their Government would work together with the Senate and with VP Boakai in the future to move the country forward. The following day, President-elect Weah spoke at his party headquarters, outlining his Government’s focus. He committed to concentrate on grassroots social transformation, inclusiveness, protection of human rights, the elimination of corruption, and the creation an environment conducive for investment. He thanked Liberia’s development partners for their support and appealed for stronger partnerships, as Liberia grows its economy and revenue base. President Weah became involved in Liberian politics following his retirement from an excellent football career. He is considered one of the greatest African players of all time, named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995 and African Player of the Century in 1996. He formed the CDC and ran unsuccessfully for president in the 2005 election, losing to President Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In the 2011 election, he ran as the vice presidential candidate with Winston Tubman, who again lost to President Sirleaf. Mr. Weah was elected to the Liberian Senate for Montserrado County in 2014.