Sat, Dec 30, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Weah wins landmark Liberia presidential poll


Then-AC Milan player George Weah holds up the FIFA Golden Ball Award he received after an Italian Serie A match against UC Sampdoria on Jan. 7, 1996.

Photo: AFP

Former star soccer player George Weah was on Thursday named winner of Liberia’s presidential election, easily beating his challenger in the country’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades.

Weah is the only African ever to have won the FIFA World Player of the Year and the coveted FIFA Ballon d’Or. In in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century.

With almost all ballots counted, Liberian National Election Commission President Jerome Korkoya said final results would be released laster yesterday, but Weah wasted no time in acknowledging his win.

“My fellow Liberians, I deeply feel the emotion of all the nation. I measure the importance and the responsibility of the immense task which I embrace today. Change is on,” he posted on Twitter.

Hundreds of his supporters took to the streets of Monrovia, singing, dancing and embracing each other as news of his victory spread.

“I’ve never been so happy in all my life. We were in opposition for 12 years. We’re going to make history, like the children of South Africa did. I’m so excited,” said Josephine Davies, vice president of the youth wing of Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change. “We’ve waited 12 years, now power is going to the people.”

Weah missed out on the presidency in a 2005 bid. He was similarly frustrated when he ran for vice president in 2011, but his party repeatedly urged its young and exuberant supporters to keep calm.

The run-off was delayed for seven weeks due to legal challenges lodged by the Unity Party against the electoral commission over the conduct of the first round, but many of the complaints appeared to have been addressed in the second round.

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