Former Soccer Star George Weah Wins Liberia's Presidency After Historic Election


The National Election Commission on Friday declared former worldwide soccer star George Weah the victor of Liberia's presidential runoff.

"The successful election that will not only see to the historic transfer of power from one democratic government to another in Liberia in about 73 years, but also the transfer of power from a ruling party to the opposition, is a giant stride for democracy and stability in Liberia and the entire West Africa".

Celebrations have begun in Liberia as former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah is set to be declared the victor of the West African nation's presidential election. He called Tuesday's vote "another plus on Africa's democratic scoreboard".

Liberia's National Election Commission has declared George Weah president-elect and Jewel Howard-Taylor vice president-elect following a December 26 runoff poll.

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu said, "I congratulate Senator George Weah on this hard-won victory".

The Nigerian leader also commended outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, under whose 12-year watch Liberia transformed from being a pariah state to a country doing remarkably well on many fronts, such as women and civil rights issue, peace building and consolidation, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union. "All we are asking is for all Liberians to come together so we can build our country".

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French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the ex-star striker's victory in a tweet on Friday. He played for top local clubs before starting his global career in Cameroon, then moved on to AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, where he became famous.

Weah, 51, who starred in top-flight football at Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the 1990s and briefly at Chelsea and Manchester City before entering politics in 2002, won 61.5 percent of the ballot, taking 14 of Liberia's 15 counties.

Vice President Joseph Boakai conceded Friday, congratulating the ex-soccer star.

The new president is expected to take office in January.

Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, is seeing its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years as Africa's first female president, Nobel Peace Prize victor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, steps aside. She led the country from back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak that killed almost 5,000 Liberians but was criticized for not tackling corruption better.