Ballon d'Or winner George Weah concedes defeat in Liberian presidential elections

FOOTBALL Ballon d'Or winner George Weah concedes defeat in Liberian presidential elections

Mark Kinyanjui 16:08 - 18.11.2023

The 1995 Ballon d'Or winner has conceded defeat to Joseph Bokai in the Liberian presidential elections before the final results had even been announced.

Former AC Milan great George Weah conceded defeat in the Liberia presidential elections on Friday evening after nearly complete returns showed opposition leader Joseph Boakai leading with nearly 51 percent of the run-off ballots.

Weah had been serving as president since late 2017 and had been leading Liberia for the past six years, but now looks set to leave office after one term following the announcement of the results as of Friday night.

"The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that... Boakai is in a lead that we cannot surpass," Weah said in a speech on national radio.

"The CDC (party) has lost the election, but Liberia has won. This is the time for graciousness in defeat, to put national interest above personal interest," he said.

It would be sweet revenge for former vice president Boakai, who lost to Weah, 57, by a large margin in the presidential second-round vote in 2017 with his expected victory now in sight.

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With more than 99.5 percent of the polling stations reporting vote tallies after Tuesday's second-round vote, Boakai had garnered 50.89 percent of ballots cast, with Weah on 49.11 percent, according to official results released by the electoral commission.

Boakai was 28,000 votes ahead of Weah, according to Friday's figures, after the two men finished neck-and-neck in the first round last month, with a national lead of just 7,126 votes for Weah.