The commencement of Liberia’s presidential and legislative election campaign marked the beginning of a critical period for the West African nation. President George Weah, the former football star who was elected in 2017 amidst high hopes, is seeking a second six-year term. The country faces significant economic challenges, having been affected by an Ebola epidemic and scarred by civil wars between 1989 and 2003.
Amidst the political landscape, 19 rivals are vying for the presidency, including former vice president Joseph Boakai, businessman Alexander Cummings, and human rights lawyer Taiwan Gongloe. The National Elections Commission (NEC) has accredited 46 parties for the upcoming polls, with over 2.4 million registered voters.
The official campaign announcement was made on national radio by NEC chair Davidetta Browne Lansanah, urging Liberians to engage in a peaceful political process. The campaigning will continue until midnight on October 8, leading up to the crucial vote on October 10.
To secure victory, a candidate must obtain at least 50 percent plus one of the votes cast. In the event that no candidate reaches this threshold, the two parties with the most votes in the first round will proceed to a run-off election, ultimately decided by a simple majority.
Liberia’s economic challenges have compounded the stakes of this election, with around half of its population living on less than $1.90 per day, as reported by the World Bank. President Weah had previously pledged to create jobs and invest in education, but critics argue that he has not fulfilled these promises.
As the election season unfolds, all eyes are on Liberia’s future, seeking a leader who can navigate the country through its tumultuous times and address the pressing economic and social issues.