George Weah wins Liberia presidential election

Glen Norman
December 29, 2017

George Weah is set to win Liberia's presidential election runoff, based on provisional results.

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 numerous complaints appeared to have been addressed in the second round.

Almost 2.2 million voters were choosing between the 51-year-old Weah and 73-year-old Vice President Joseph Boakai.

Usually when footballers retire they move into coaching or punditry, but George Weah made the switch to politics.

Mr Weah, 51, won the first round of the presidential election in October with 38.4% of the vote, compared with the 28.8% won by second-placed Mr Boakai, 73.

While all focus is now on the heavy Christmas football schedule, a former Chelsea star is making headlines away from the field.

The elections commission says Weah received 61.5 percent of the votes counted, while Vice President Joseph Boakai has received 38.5 percent.

Early reports indicate that Weah has indeed won the run-off.

Ms Sirleaf took office in 2006, after her predecessor President Taylor was forced out by rebels in 2003, ending a long civil war.

Living standards in Liberia remain among the worst in the world.

Retired footballer George Weah has won the elections in Liberia to become that country's 25th president.

But Mr Weah's election is not without controversy, as his running mate is Jewel Taylor, former wife of the warlord and ex-President Charles Taylor, who is serving a jail sentence in the United Kingdom for war crimes.

As counting gets underway, the candidates have been urged to keep supporters calm to avoid the electoral violence that has hit Liberia in previous years.

He lost to Sirleaf, the president he will replace, in the second round of voting in 2005 and unsuccessfully ran for vice-president in 2011.

On Tuesday polling stations displayed voter lists as a mark of transparency for the run-off.

His CDC party contested those results but has refrained so far this time, though after voting on Tuesday, Weah warned that "what happened in 2005 and 2011 can not be repeated".

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