George Weah won Liberia’s presidential run-off with a projected 61.5 percent of the vote
Weah beat Vice President Joseph Boakai, who secured 38.5 percent of the vote.
The former footballer will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s president
Former football star George Weah won Liberia’s presidential run-off with a projected 61.5 percent of the vote, the country’s election commission said Thursday.
Weah handily beat Vice President Joseph Boakai, who secured 38.5 percent, the National Election Commission (NEC) said, with 98.1 percent of votes counted.
The 51-year-old, considered one of Africa’s greatest-ever footballers, sparked controversy in the run-up to the election after naming Jewel Howard-Taylor, wife of cannibal warlord Charles Taylor, as his pick for vice president.
Former football star George Weah handily beat Vice President Joseph Boakai, with 61.5 percent of the vote, the National Election Commission (NEC) said, with 98.1 percent of votes counted.
Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year sentence in Britain for war crimes committed in neighbouring Sierra Leone, but his presence has loomed large over the election.
Weah, who also played for AC Milan during a glittering career that saw him win the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year, took to Twitter on Wednesday to tell of his ‘deep emotion’ and ‘to thank you, the Liberian people, for honouring me with your vote today. It is a great hope.’
The former footballer will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s president next month, in what will be the country’s first democratic transition in more than 70 years.
Sirleaf’s predecessor Charles Taylor fled the country in 2003 with hopes of avoiding prosecution for funding rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone, while two presidents who served prior to Taylor were assassinated.
The tumult of the last seven decades in Liberia, a small West African nation where an estimated 250,000 people died during back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, means a democratic handover has not taken place since 1944.
The ballot was delayed for seven weeks due to legal challenges lodged by Boakai’s Unity Party against the electoral commission over the conduct of the first round of voting, but many of the complaints appeared to have been addressed in the second round.
The Liberia Elections Observation Network, which had more than 1,000 observers stationed across the country, hailed a vote it said had passed calmly with better organisation than the first poll on October 10, as did observers from the European Union.