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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

The people vying for Liberia’s presidency on October 10

Monrovia, Liberia – On Tuesday, over 2.4 million Liberians head to the polls to elect a president and members of their legislature. Currently, there are 19 candidates hoping to replace incumbent President George Weah of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC), who is seeking a second six-year term.

The two main challengers are former vice president Joseph Nyuma Boakai and businessman Alexander Cummings. Both men were previously in a four-party opposition alliance, the Coalition of Political Parties (CPP). However, despite initial success, the coalition has since broken up after reported disagreements over who gets the presidential ticket in this election cycle.

Also in the running is Liberian People’s Party’s Tiawan Gongloe, a renowned human rights lawyer and professor of law who served as the country’s solicitor general during the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration.

The former president became Africa’s first elected female leader in 2006, but inclusivity in politics is still a mirage in many parts of the continent, including her native Liberia. Only two of the 20 contenders in Tuesday’s presidential vote are women, one of whom is Sara Nyanti, a former deputy special representative in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

Weah, who is running for a second term, has boasted that he will secure outright victory in the first round of elections. He has been in office since 2017.

CDC’s Weah has kept current vice president, Jewel Howard-Taylor, as his running mate. Howard-Taylor is the ex-wife of former president Charles Taylor who is serving a 50-year sentence for crimes against humanity committed in neighbouring Sierra Leone, in a British prison.

Weah, 57, has said his performance will be enough to secure re-election. He counts as achievement a free tuition scheme for undergraduates of public universities that was instituted in 2018. Weah’s government also pays the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) fees for 9th and 12th graders in public schools.

Furthermore, the government has increased electricity access and reduced costs from 38 cents per kilowatt to an average of 15 cents per kilowatt. The administration has also embarked on several road construction projects around the country.

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