Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Global Competitiveness report releases 2018 Africa performance

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Brexit: 'The end isn't nigh'

Read more

THE DEBATE

Where do you draw the line? Brexit deadline summit stumbles over Irish border

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Uighurs and Kazakhs held in re-education camps in China

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Salim Saab: Showcasing the women of the Arab art world

Read more

FOCUS

Irish border remains stumbling block in Brexit talks

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Capernaum - powerful social drama or poverty porn?

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Nature under threat: Arresting pictures from Wildlife Photography Awards

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Protecting heritage land against mining companies

Read more

Africa

Former football star George Weah wins Liberian presidential run-off

© Seyllou, AFP | A man reacts after the announcement of partial results of the second round of the presidential election, on December 28, 2017 in Monrovia.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-12-29

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.

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.

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.

“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.

“When you feel sick for some time and you receive proper medication - that is how I feel now. He will be good for our country. He is King George!”

Weah grew up in Clara Town slum in Monrovia and went on to become the only African to win FIFA World Player of the Year, starring for AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea.

His rags-to-riches story helped him tap into dissatisfaction with Johnson Sirleaf’s 12-year tenure. Sirleaf drew a line under years of civil war but drew criticism for failing to root out corruption or persistent poverty.

Weah’s critics, however, say he has offered few concrete policy proposals. His choice of running mate Jewel Howard-Taylor - ex-wife of Charles Taylor, the former president and warlord serving 50 years in Britain for war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone - has also raised eyebrows.

“I think Weah is not fit for the work. He will see it,” said Anthony Mason, 34, who had gathered at the headquarters of Boakai’s Unity Party for the results.

Weah looked set to sweep 14 of Liberia’s 15 counties in the run-off. Turnout in Tuesday’s vote stood at 56 percent, the election commission said.

Earlier on Thursday, Boakai said he doubted that the vote was “free, fair and transparent”, without elaborating. He did not say whether he might challenge the eventual result.

The second round was delayed by more than a month after the third-place finisher in October’s first round, backed by Boakai, alleged fraud. The Supreme Court ultimately rejected the challenge.

The U.S.-based Carter Center and National Democratic Institute said on Thursday there were notable improvements in the handling of the run-off, echoing positive assessments from other international observers.

Founded by freed U.S. slaves in 1847, Liberia is Africa’s oldest modern republic. But the last democratic transfer of power occurred in 1944, a military coup took place in 1980 and a 14-year civil war ended only in 2003.

(REUTERS)

     

Date created : 2017-12-28

  • LIBERIA

    Liberians hopeful of first democratic handover since 1944

    Read more

  • LIBERIA

    Turnout is low in Liberian presidential run-off

    Read more

  • LIBERIA

    Liberians vote in presidential run-off pitting ex-footballer against vice president

    Read more

COMMENT(S)