Liberians vote to choose new leader in presidential run-off

by Garry Watts December 29, 2017, 0:40
Liberians vote to choose new leader in presidential run-off

But Weah on Thursday (Friday NZ time) was announced as the next president of Liberia after defeating ruling vice-president Boakai.

The victor of the election will replace Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Africa's first democratically elected president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

He will rather compound the problems in Liberia because I don't see him being trusted by the President-Elect, whom he (Obasanjo) openly worked against in 2005 to impose the outgoing President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for reasons best known to him.

Former footballer George Weah is set to become Liberia's president at the second attempt.

State radio correspondents reported unofficial results overnight indicating that former global soccer player George Weah led in several counties, but election authorities warned the two parties to "stop making premature pronouncements".

Weah led the first round of voting on October 10 but didn't get enough votes to win outright.

Weah supporters paraded through the streets of the capital Monrovia and honked vehicle horns to celebrate the news.

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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. The failure of any candidate to secure an outright majority forced the run-off.

Mr Weah played for a string of football clubs, including AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris St-Germain, and is the only African footballer to have won both Fifa World Player of the Year and the Ballon D'Or.

He entered politics after his retirement and is now a senator in Liberia's parliament.

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. Election officials put turnout at 56%.

He and Boakai voted in polling stations near their homes in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, the capital of this nation of 4.6 million people.

Sirleaf is stepping down after two terms as president.


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