Liberia is set to vote on whether to re-elect former footballer George Weah to the presidency, with peace and the economy being the top concerns. The main political parties have pledged that the presidential and legislative elections will pass off peacefully, but the deaths of three people last month during clashes between rival party supporters have raised concerns about a return to bloodshed. Weah, who is seeking a second six-year term as president, is the favorite among 20 candidates but could face a second-round run-off if he does not secure an absolute majority in the first round of voting.
The political race is quick to be held since the Unified Countries finished its peacekeeping mission in Liberia in 2018. Weah, who entered politics after a career as an international footballer, has faced criticism for not doing enough to tackle corruption and has fired his chief of staff and two other senior officials after being sanctioned by the US for alleged corruption. Former Vice President Joseph Boakai, Weah’s main rival, has pledged to restore the country’s image, develop infrastructure, and improve life for the poorest.
The World Bank reports that more than a fifth of Liberia’s population lives on less than $2.15 a day, and staple food prices have soared.