Stories by Monica Iheakam
Former soccer star George Weah has defeated Vice President Joseph Boakai to win Liberia’s presidential run-off election and succeed incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf next month, the country’s first democratic transition in over 70 years.
At his party headquarters outside Monrovia, tears streamed down Weah’s face as he greeted supporters from a balcony. Outside, young fans ran through the streets and blared car horns as dusk fell over the city.
With 98.1 percent of the vote counted, Weah led with 61.5 percent to Boakai’s 38.5 percent, National Election Commission Chairman Jerome Korkoyah told reporters in the capital Monrovia on Thursday.
“Success for George Weah is victory for the whole country,” a 47-year-old engineer named Randall Zarkpah said as he walked home with his young son.
Weah 51 , will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to become president next month, the country’s first democratic transition since 1944.
He was raised by his grandmother in one of the worst slums of Liberia’s capital Monrovia, but 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 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.