Former footballer George Weah has defeated Joseph Boakai having secured over 60% of the votes to win Liberia’s presidential race.
With 98.1% of the run-off vote counted, Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) said on Thursday that the 51-year old footballer-cum-politician had secured the presidency beyond Mr Boakai’s reach in the run-off.
During the first round that was held in October, Wear who joined politics after his retirement from football in 2002, won with 38.4% of the vote. On the second place was Mr Boakai, 73, with 28.8%. But the failure of either candidate to secure an outright majority forced the run-off.
Weah succeeds Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president who defeated him in 2005 after the end of a brutal civil war.
As news of Mr Weah’s victory emerged on Thursday, his supporters began celebrating in the capital Monrovia.
“The former football star’s campaign – under the Coalition for Democratic Change banner – appealed to the youth vote, while incumbent Vice President Mr Boakai was seen as old and out of touch” reported BBC Africa.
This will be Liberia’s first democratic handover in decades.
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 UK for war crimes.