Liberia’s new president, Joseph Boakai, has recovered from a bout of heat-induced faintness that caused him to abbreviate his inauguration speech on Monday before being escorted from the podium, according to his party’s spokesman.
The 79-year-old, who won against George Weah in a runoff election in November, was sworn in during an outdoor ceremony in the scorching heat of Monrovia, the capital of the West African nation.
During his speech, Boakai paused, and aides rushed to fan him. He resumed after a few minutes but stopped again, and aides assisted him in stepping away from the podium, ending the ceremony prematurely.
“The heat was intense. There should have been some fans or something around there,” remarked Mohammed Ali, the spokesman for Boakai’s ruling Unity Party, after the incident. “Given his age, exhaustion is not unexpected. However, he is doing fine now,” he added at the event.
While some of Boakai’s opponents had raised concerns about his age and stamina during the election campaign, his team dismissed the criticism.
Despite the abrupt conclusion of the inauguration ceremony, Boakai had already taken the oath of office before he was assisted away. Officials proceeded with a scheduled lunch, but Boakai’s whereabouts were not immediately known.