SAFA hails Weah's election as Liberia president

SAFA hails Weah's election as Liberia president

SAFA hails Weah's election as Liberia president

The National Election Commission on Friday declared former global soccer star George Weah the victor of Liberia's presidential runoff.

The White House called the vote "a major milestone for Liberia's democracy" while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres applauded "all Liberians for the successful completion of the elections process, which was conducted in a peaceful environment".

"We are celebrating because George Weah represents the interests of us, the young people in Liberia", 21 year-old Musa Shariff told DW.

Reports say the former AC Milan striker is all but the victor of Tuesday's run-off, as he now leads incumbent vice-president Joseph Boakai with more than 60 per cent of the votes.

He has drawn some criticism for picking Jewel Howard-Taylor, the powerful ex-wife of former warlord and president Charles Taylor, as his vice-president.

"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 through streets filled with the sounds of vehicle horns and loud cheers as dusk fell.

George Weah will take over from Ellen Johnson, who ruled for 12 years.

The President also noted that Sirleaf deserves special commendation for the statesmanship she has shown in ensuring free and fair elections that would pave the way for a peaceful transfer of political power from one democratically elected leader to another for the first time in 73 years.

Liberia's president-elect and ex-soccer star George Weah says he is "honored to join a new generation of heads of state". Vice President Joseph Boakai has accepted defeat.

Tweeting in French in response to congratulations from French President Emmanuel Macron, he added that "we have a lot to do together to accelerate the building of tomorrow's Africa". He is the only African to win FIFA World Player of the Year.

Addressing supporters in Monrovia, Boakai promised to provide support to Weah, but he also reminded him of Liberia's fragile economy and the challenges that lie ahead.

Weah played with AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, among others.

With more than 98 percent of votes counted late on Thursday from this week's runoff, Weah received 61.5 percent of ballots while Boakai received 38.5 percent.

The tumultuous events of the past 70 years in Liberia, where an estimated 250,000 people died during back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, have prevented a democratic handover from taking place since 1944.

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