The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has congratulated the people of Liberia on the peaceful conduct of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections. ECOWAS also congratulated Ambassador Joseph Boakai on his election as President of Liberia and saluted President George Weah for graciously accepting the results of the elections.
ECOWAS, in a statement, said, “Liberians have once again demonstrated that democracy is alive in the ECOWAS region and that change is possible through peaceful means.” ECOWAS also commended all the stakeholders, including the political parties, the National Elections Commission, civil society, the security forces and local and international partners, for their commitment to a credible and inclusive electoral process.
The country’s elections commission said on Friday that the 78-year-old Boakai, a former vice president, has managed to secure a narrow victory with 50.9 percent of the vote to Weah’s 49.1 percent, with almost all the votes counted.
At 78, Joseph Boakai is Liberia’s third democratically elected head of state. The former vice president under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took revenge on incumbent president George Weah, who defeated him in 2018.
Boakai has attempted to craft a more energetic image after earning the unfortunate title of Sleepy Joe for his propensity to fall asleep at public events.
His opponents see his advanced age as a handicap and claim that he is out of touch with the younger generation in a country where 60% of the population is under the age of 25.
But his supporters emphasized his age and unwavering probity, claiming that he alone would be able to restore confidence in institutions and fight corruption. Boakai has pledged to invest in infrastructure and alleviate the extreme poverty still suffered by most Liberians.
A father of four, the former VP benefits from the backing of older voters who value the stability his party has brought after living through civil wars between 1989 and 2003. Others are concerned that his court battle after the 2018 election has distracted from his message of dependability and continuity in a country with a history of electoral violence.
Incumbent President Weah gracefully conceded the tight election on Friday before the final official tally was announced to mark a peaceful transfer of power in a region that has recently seen a plethora of military coups.