Liberians will vote in a runoff election today.
The contest pits incumbent George Weah against former Vice President Joseph Boakai, after last month’s closely fought first round in which neither candidate secured outright victory.
Weah led the first round, earning 43.83% of the vote, with Boakai securing 43.44%. Many voters have become disenchanted with populist Weah, with opponents saying his tenure in power has been defined by corruption, youth unemployment, and economic hardship. Unlike Weah, Boakai brings decades of political experience to the table and promises to reunite the country, after the first round of results revealed the extent of tribalism in Liberia.
Politics has become more polarised under Weah. Recently, his rhetoric inspired loyalists to disrupt voting processes in opposition strongholds, which has stoked fears that Weah may not accept election results and that violence will follow if his party is not re-elected. This is made more likely by the lack of checks and balances in the country.
This election takes on added significance; after 20 years of relative peace, the country is exhibiting the same troubling signs of tribalism that sparked the civil war. Whoever wins on Tuesday must contend with an increasingly fractional society.
Rory is an Analyst that writes for the Daily Brief..