Liberia’s 2017 presidential election


George Manneh Weah won Liberia’s presidential election on 26 December 2017 with 61.5% of the vote beating his rival, the outgoing Vice-President Joseph Boakai, who gained 38.5% of the vote. Turnout for the run-off election was much lower than the first round, held on 10 October, 55.8% compared to 74.5%.  Some 1.2 million Liberians cast their ballots in 5 390 polling places across the country’s 15 counties. The results show that 732 185 people voted for George Weah and his vice-president, Jewel Howard-Taylor, who both ran with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Party. His opponent Boakai and vice-presidential candidate James Emmanuel Nuquay from the Unity Party garnered 457 579 votes. With the exception of Lofa, Boakai’s home county, George Weah won all other counties. However, nearly half of Weah’s votes were gained in Montserrado county, which includes the capital and where turnout was highest (65.3%). Weah won the first round with 39% of the vote, but did not have an absolute majority. It was Weah’s third presidential bid. He previously lost in 2005 and 2011 (as the vice-presidential candidate with Winston Tubman’s presidential campaign) against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was unable to run for a third term because of constitutionally-mandated term limits. Some 20 candidates participated in the election contest, reflecting Liberia’s scattered political landscape. There is no clear majority in the House of Representatives. Out of the 73 seats, George Weah’s CDC won 21 seats compared to 19 seats won by the Unity Party, the former ruling party. The People’s Unification Party became the country’s third political force with five seats. Independent candidates won 12 seats. The election marks Liberia’s first peaceful transfer of power.


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