Political cross carpeting has intensified as the two main candidates in the presidential race prepare to battle it out in a runoff election on November 14.
Incumbent President George Weah and opposition leader Joseph Boakai hit deadlock in the Oct. 10 polls, falling to reach the 50% plus one vote threshold required for outright victory.
On paper, they need the support of other candidates who failed in the first round of voting to secure the country’s top job.
The two parties have been active in the political transfer market. The ruling CDC appears to have the upper have after snatching away three allies of former vice president Joseph Boakai and holding advanced talks with third, fourth and firth place finisher Edward Appleton, Lusinee Kamara and Alexander Cummings.
Businessman Benoni Urey, the political leader of the All Liberian Coalition Party has declared support for the reelection of the President.
Moving along with him are controversial and influential political commentator Henry Costa and Talia Urey, the elder daughter of Mr. Urey who led the Unity Party community and grassroots mobilization in the buildup to the 2023 elections.
Much of the votes the Unity Party won in the Montserrado area
during the first round of balloting are credited to her early work before relaxing her support on political differences.
What Urey said?
“We will go to great lengths and traverse the breadth of this country to ensure your re-election into office. We do not want to repeat the political mistakes of the past. I have made political mistakes, and Liberia has made political mistakes. We will not make the same mistakes again. We are not going to make deals with the devil,” Urey emphasized.
“Mr. President, I want you to know that the ALP and the CDC are not far from each other. The CDC, under George Manneh Weah, and we were among the founding members of the CDC. We worked with the CDC, we fought with the CDC, and we were persecuted for the CDC.
“They even burned down our radio station during former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime. Today, I am delighted to announce that I am supporting my younger brother.”
“Some people believe they are entitled to lead this country, but that’s not true. What matters is the will of the majority of the people in this country. Liberia belongs to Liberians.”
Former Coca-Cola executive and leader of the Collaborating Political Parties is right in the middle and nothing is yet clear on who he will be backing.
His movement will be a pivotal decider in the closely contested race given his work rate with voters across the country despite the shocking outcome.
Eighteen of the 20 candidates who underperformed during the first round of balloting share a combined votes of 229,754 or 12.095 of the 1.9 million ballot cast on voting day.
While individually they did not exceed 1% of the vote except for one, their support base is an attractive fortune to fish. Over 200,000 votes are at stick here.
The best losers in the presidential race are: Edward Appleton of the Grass root Development Movement, who for his first showing in the presidential polls, came third with 40,262 or 2.20% votes. Where is he heading? Most likely Weah.
Sitting in the 4th position is former Finance Minister Lusinee Kamara of the All Liberian Coalition Party, obtaining 35,984 or 1.9% of the tally. Where is he heading? 50% odds for either party.
At Number 5 is former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings who slumped to 29,612 or 1.4% votes from the 112,062 or 7.2% he won in 2017. This represents about 73.5% decline.
The Alternative National Congress leader did not endorse either of the candidates in the 2017 runoff, which Weah eventually won. Possible destination: 50% chance for either party.
Siting at Number 6 is another first-time candidate – the rights lawyer Tiawon Saye Gongloe who received 26,391 or 1.45 votes. Destination: Unity Party.
His influential sibling – Edith who headed the local government in Nimba County during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-era is backing Weah.