George Weah, former football star (File Photo)
Johannesburg (People’s Daily) – Election officials in Liberia announced Senator George Weah as the winner of the nation’s presidential election, securing over 60 percent of the popular vote to defeat incumbent Vice President Joseph Baokai.
The former football star and African Footballer of the Year will be sworn into office next month in the Liberian capital city of Monrovia.
Ballot total for Boakai came in at just under 40 percent, but it wasn’t enough to outrun the West African sports legend.
Chair of the National Election Commissions (NEC), Jerome Korkoyah, announced that Weah, the who ran on the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) ticket, announced the winners after 98 percent of the ballots were tallied.
The 51-year-old retired striker won the first-round election in October, securing almost 40 percent of the vote.
The second round election was meant to happen in November, but a Supreme Court decision, ruling in favor of third-party candidate Charles Brumskine who claimed the election was rife with “fraud and irregularities,” postponed it until the December.
George Weah will succeed current President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Weah’s victory makes him one of the few former professional athletes who went on to have successful political careers, the first to become president of a nation.
As a young boy growing up in poverty-stricken Clara Town, the poorest region of this west African country, Weah’s story is a movie waiting to be made.
Before he moved to Europe in the late 1980’s to take the football world by storm, he worked as a switchboard technician for the Liberia Telecommunications Company in Monrovia.
In Europe, it was legendary football manager Arsene Wenger who recognized his skills and recruited him to play for Monaco FC. A year later Weah won his first of two African Footballer of the Year trophies.
In the early 1990’s, Weah played professionally in France where he would later win the Coupe de la Ligue. When he scored, fans called it a “wondergoal.” An in 1995, Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year.