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From football star to Liberia’s strong Man

Football star George Weah has won the Liberia presidential run-off with 61.5 percent of vote from 98.1 percent of ballots cast – election commission.

Thursday’s announcement by the country’s election commission chair, Jerome Korkoyah, means Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s president next month, January, in what will be the country’s first democratic transition since 1944.

He beat Vice President Joseph Boakai, who took 38.5% of the vote.

9 hours ago he tweeted: “The Liberian people clearly made their choice… and all together we are very confident in the result of the electoral process.”

The process had been delayed by several weeks after a legal challenge by Mr Boakai.
Armed and helmeted police were stationed outside the polling body’s headquarters on Thursday, as some of Mr Weah’s supporters started their celebrations.

Mr Weah, 51, grew up in Liberia. He was raised by his grandmother in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, from a humble background, he went on to have a glittering football career in the 1990s.

He played for a number of different teams in Africa before being transferred to Monaco where he was coached by Arsene Wenger.
He also played for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City.

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.

This is the second time he has run for the presidency in Liberia, the first being in 2005.
He formed the Congress for Democratic Change but was defeated by current president. Then in 2011 he came second as a vice presidential candidate.

He is currently senator for Montserrado County in Liberia after being elected in 2014.
He won 38.4% of votes in the first round on 10 October, while his opponent Boakai came second with 28.8%.

This triggered the run-off as neither made it past the 50% needed for an outright win.
Throughout his campaign for election, he put his focus on education, jobs, infrastructure and health care, but came under fire for “vague” policies.

Sky News, Reuters

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