The race for the Liberian presidency has reached a nail-biting point as President George Weah and his archrival, former Vice President Joseph Boakai, continue to battle neck-to-neck for the top political seat in the country.
Out of a record-breaking 1,355,140 votes tallied since the close of polls on October 10, Weah has accumulated 593,558 votes, constituting 43.80% of the vote share, according to the October 15 data from the National Elections Commission (NEC).
While Boakai, who temporarily topped the President from Oct. 11-12, is fighting tenaciously to keep pace with 589,977 votes, constituting 43.54% of the total votes counted so far.
These latest vote counts have led to a huge reduction, about 75 percent, of the lead that Weah had over Boakai on Saturday-from a margin 13, 758 on Saturday to 3,581 on Sunday.
With just 3,581 votes separating the two men, this election has become a fierce contest, characterized by a razor-thin margin since the beginning of the announcement of results on Oct.11. The President, according to NEC data, has been in the lead for the last three days, with a fluctuating margin.
The slim margin between the two, which can be attributed to the significant votes they are garnering from their respective strongholds, comes as 4,295 out of 5,890 polling places across the country have been tallied.
Tribal loyalties have played a prominent role in helping narrow the contest between the President and his archrival, as well as the strong grassroots support of their respective vice presidential candidates. Additionally, the endorsements of some influential political figures who hold significant tribal appeal in their respective counties have also contributed to the fierce competition.
Weah, a former international football star, has been in office since January 2018 and is running for re-election on a platform that highlights his achievements during his first term, including infrastructure development and economic reform. He has emphasized his commitment to continue these policies and bring further prosperity to Liberia.
On the other hand, Boakai, who served as Vice President under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is presenting himself as an experienced statesman capable of addressing the nation’s needs in a different way. His campaign has focused on issues such as healthcare, education, and social welfare.
The two front-runners are being followed from a distance by one Edward W. Appleton of the Grassroots Development Movement, a relatively new political party, which has managed to secure a share of 28,750 votes, constituting 2.12% of the total votes.
Appleton’s share of votes surpasses that of other contenders, including Alexander Cummings, Cllr. Taiwan Gongloe, and Dr. Clarence Moniba, all of whom were initially expected to perform far better in the elections.
Next is Lusinee Kamara, who has secured a share of 26,883 votes, representing 1.98% of the total vote, while Gongloe is in fifth place with 22,536 votes (1.66%), and Cummings comes sixth, with 22,162 votes, representing 1.64%.
In Bomi County, according to data from the NEC, Boakai has obtained a vote of 15,791, representing 51.42%, while Weah has accumulated a vote of 11,810, constituting 38.45%. This represents the tallied outcome of 109 polling places out of a total of 171 polling places, the electoral body disclosed.
In Bong County, 417 polling places out of a total of 555 have been tallied, giving Weah 66,358 (44.17%), while Boakai is at 58,265 votes (38.78%).
As for Grand Bassa County, Weah has accumulated a vote of 31,050 (43.80%), while Boakai is at 25,040 (35.23%). This represents the outcome of 266 polling places out of a total of 405. In Grand Cape Mount, 102 polling places have been tallied out of a total of 213, with Boakai in the lead. The former Vice President’s vote is 13,719 (45.56%), while Weah has 12,504 (41.53%).
In Grand Gedeh County, 132 polling places out of a total of 163 have been tallied as well. Weah is significantly ahead with a vote of 27,752 votes (78.19%), while Boakai’s vote share is 3,728 (10.50%). As for Grand Kru County, the President has accumulated 17,200 votes (79.82%), with Boakai at 1,673 (7.76%) out of 77 polling places that have been tallied from a total of 110.
In Lofa County, in which 424 polling places have been tallied, Boakai has accumulated 73,761 (56.16%), with Weah at 35,951 (27.37%). Similarly in Margibi County, Boakai is leading with a vote of 17,502 (50.36%), while Weah is behind with 13,758 (39.59%) out of a total of 113 polling places tallied from a total of 441.
In Maryland, 94 polling places out of a total of 175 have been tallied, giving the President a vote of 21,339 (73.18%), while his archrival’s vote share is 3,782 (12.97%). In Nimba County, the case is, however, different as out of 535 polling places tallied out of a total of 736, Boakai is in the lead with a whopping vote of 96,582 (57.88%), while Weah is at a distance of 35,474 (21.26%).
In Rivercess County, 83 polling places out of a total of 105 have been tallied, giving Weah a lead vote of 12,113 (58.53%), while Boakai is at 5,287 (25.54%).
As for Sinoe County, the margin is significantly wide. Out of 52 polling places tallied from a total of 152 places, the President is ahead with a vote of 11,239 (78.24%), while Boakai is at 1,572 (10.94%).
Similarly in Rivergee County, Weah has accumulated a total of 19,130 votes (70.27%) out of 96 polling places tallied from a total of 98. Boakai has a distant vote of 4,417 (16.22%).
In Montserrado County, 1,608 polling places out of 2,008 have been tallied, putting Weah ahead with a vote of 26,363 (47.39%), while Boakai is close with a vote of 25,155 (45.50%).