Liberians Vote Amid Peace and Prosperity Concerns

Oct 12, 2023 | News, Politics | 0 comments

Liberia held a significant election as George Weah sought a second presidential term. Peace and prosperity topped voters’ concerns in a country marked by past civil wars.

Days before polling stations opened at 8:00 GMT, lines formed at voting centres in Monrovia, primarily in schools. First-time voter Agostina Momo, 18, said she voted for the good of her country, expecting peace and development.

The major parties pledged peaceful presidential and legislative elections. Recent clashes between their supporters, resulting in three deaths, raised fears of a violent resurgence.

Weah’s re-election campaign ended with clashes between his supporters and opposition members. Police used tear gas, leaving several injured. Residents in Buchanan, east of Monrovia, voiced their desire for peace above all else.

Concerns over healthcare, education, jobs, infrastructure, and living costs lingered but took a backseat to fears of renewed violence. Liberia’s past conflicts left over 250,000 dead from 1989 to 2003.

Incumbent President Weah, 57, faces 19 presidential candidates and likely a second-round runoff. His campaign slogan, “One round victory,” stressed the need to preserve peace for sustainable development.

Despite promises to create jobs and invest in education, critics argue that Weah fell short. The National Electoral Commission aimed to reassure voters of a fair election.

International observers from the EU, AU, ECOWAS, and the U.S. monitored the polls. Stations closed at 1800 GMT, with 2.4 million voters also selecting House of Representatives and Senate members. Initial results are expected in 15 days.

Former Vice President Joseph Boakai, a frontrunner for the presidency, pledged to restore Liberia’s image, enhance infrastructure, and alleviate hardships. Corruption concerns persisted, with the U.S. sanctioning five senior Liberian officials in recent years. As Liberia voted in this critical election, it grappled with complex challenges, holding onto hopes for a peaceful and prosperous future.