Sunday, 23 September, 2018


Ex-soccer star Weah elected Liberia president by wide margin

Bennie Garza | 31 December, 2017, 18:13

Weah won Tuesday's runoff with 61.5% of the vote over Vice President Joseph Boakai, who got 38.5%, according to final results.

More African leaders are extending congratulations to the newly elected president of Liberia, George Weah.

Former soccer star George Weah has been declared victor of Liberia's presidential runoff vote held on December 26.

Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, is seeing its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years as Nobel Peace Prize victor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf steps aside.

This was Liberia's first independently run election since the end of its civil wars. "To investors, we say Liberia is open for business", he said. "We need Liberians to come home and work for our country".

"I have known him for a long time and I know presidency won't change him".

Weah led the ticket for a coalition party, the Congress for Democratic Change, with Jewel Howard-Taylor as his vice presidential running mate.

Weah honored Sirleaf, calling her "the Iron Lady of Africa", and promising to "build upon the institutional gains" her administration has made.

In his first public comments after his rival conceded, Weah said he was "honored to join a new generation of heads of state".

Acknowledging the fragility of the country's economy, Weah called on the country's development partners to assist the country with medium-term aids to support ongoing projects that are critical to his government's long-term goals.

As Liberia grappled with the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Weah was elected as a senator, defeating Sirleaf's son Robert for the seat.

Mr Weah, 51, grew up in poverty in Liberia.

Then in 2011 he came second as a vice presidential candidate.

Weah, who played for a string of football clubs including AC Milan and Paris St-Germain, will be taking charge of a country experiencing serious economic problems.

Weah is expected to take office in January.

He is the first and only African player to have won both FIFA's World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d'Or.

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