President George Weah has called opposition leader Joseph Boakai to concede defeat in the presidential race.
Gatekeepers News reports that Weah on Friday conceded defeat after a tight race, ending a presidency marred by graft allegations.
This development will help to ensure a smooth transition of power in the once-volatile African nation.
According to the country’s elections commission, Boakai, a former vice president who lost to Weah in the 2017 election, led with 50.9% of the vote over Weah’s 49.1%, with nearly all the votes counted.
The result marks a stark turnaround from 2017, when global soccer legend Weah, buoyed by a wave of hope, trounced Boakai with 62 per cent of the vote.
On national radio, Weah said, “A few moments ago, I spoke with president-elect Joseph Boakai to congratulate him on his victory.
“I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections.”
Weah’s concession paves the way for Liberia’s second democratic transfer of power in over seven decades – the first was when Weah swept to power six years ago.
Boakai supporters in the capital Monrovia danced, shouted and honked car horns in the rain after the near-final results were announced.
Boakai told Reuters shortly after the results were announced, “We have a job ahead of us to do and I’m excited that the citizens have given us approval.
“First and foremost, we want to have a message of peace and reconciliation.”
Liberia is struggling to recover from two civil wars that killed more than 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003, and from a 2013-16 Ebola epidemic that killed thousands.