Monrovia, Jan 22 (EFE).- Joseph Boakai was sworn in Monday as Liberia’s new president after defeating the former head of state and former world soccer star George Weah in the Nov. 14 elections.
“My government will uphold the rule of law and equality for the benefit of all Liberians,” Boakai, 79, said in his inauguration speech at a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, at the Capitol, the seat of Parliament.
“My government has come to rescue Liberia from corruption, division, bad governance and hatred,” the veteran politician stressed.
Boakai is the third president to be democratically elected since the end of the civil war in 2003.
Apparently affected by the stifling heat, Boakai, leader of the Unity Party (UP) and who has a six-year mandate ahead of him, had difficulties speaking and could not finish his speech. He eventually left the podium helped by his advisors and bodyguards.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the presidents of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, among other foreign dignitaries.
Boakai won the second round of the presidential election on Nov. 14 by beating Weah with 50.64% of the vote.
The 57-year-old Weah, who heads the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), sought re-election despite a first term marked by an economic crisis and accusations of corruption against the government.
Boakai, the country’s vice-president from 2006 to 2018, presented himself as an experienced politician capable of solving the problems that his rival had not tackled.
Both candidates also faced each other at the polls in the 2017 presidential elections, which Weah won.
Several international missions monitored the elections in the West African country, including those of the EU and the African Union (AU).
With a population of about five million, Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic and still faces the scars of two civil wars, which left more than 250,000 dead.
The country also suffered the severe setback of the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis and has been affected by the economic effects of Russia’s war against Ukraine, such as soaring food prices. EFE