Ex-footballer George Weah wins Liberian presidential polls

ANI | Updated: Dec 29, 2017 02:15 IST

Monrovia [Liberia], December 29 (ANI): Former Liberian footballer George Weah on Thursday won the country's presidential elections, defeating vice-president Joseph Boakai in a runoff.

The announcement was made by the country's election commission chairman, Jerome Korkoyah. He said that Weah will succeed incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia's president next month, the Guardian reported.

According to the commission figures, Weah had taken 61.5 percent of the vote. At least, 98.1 percent of the Liberians cast their ballots in the presidential elections.

Weah earlier topped the first round of voting in October with 38.4 percent of ballots, but failed to win the mandatory 50 percent mark to avoid a runoff. Boakai came a distant second with 28.8 percent.

Sirleaf's office said that it had set up a team for the proper management and orderly transfer of executive power from one democratically elected president to another.

Liberia, a country located in the western part of Africa, has been ravaged by back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003. Further political instabilities have prevented any democratic handover of power since then. Thursday's results marked the first democratic transition of Liberia since 1944.

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, hailed the peaceful conduct of the vote and praised the government, political parties and the people of Liberia for the orderly poll.

The 51-year-old Weah is the only African player to be FIFA's 'World Player Of The Year' and to win the coveted 'Ballon d'Or' for Europe's best player in 1995. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was named the 'African Footballer of the Year'. In 1996, he was named the 'African Player of the Century'.

Weah played for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the 1990s before moving to England late in his career for spells at Chelsea and Manchester City. He retired from football and joined active politics in 2002. (ANI)