Liberians celebrate George Weah's presidential victory

Richard Eckersley

Former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah has been elected Liberia's new president by a wide margin as the West African nation faces its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years.

Buhari in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina commended the Liberian people on the peaceful conduct of the presidential run-off election.

Pending declaration as President of Liberia where he will be sworn into office, the Professional football Association of Ghana have lauded the ex-AC Milan star.

With 98 per cent of the votes so far counted, Mr. Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change polled 61.5 per cent.

He lauded the efforts of the National Election Commission of Liberia, regional and global observers "who contributed to the electoral process".

"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 auto horns and loud cheers as dusk fell.

Idolised in Liberia as "Mister George", Weah is to be sworn in on January 22, replacing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in 2006 took the helm of the West African country first founded for freed USA slaves.

Buhari says Nigeria is ready to work with Liberia on issues of mutual interest and called Weah's victory "an affirmation of the will of the Liberian people to remain united, peaceful and prosperous".

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In his first public comments after his rival conceded, Weah said he was "honored to join a new generation of heads of state".

"Best wishes for the success of President-elect George Weah, and Vice President-elect, Jewel Taylor".

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".

"I am most grateful to the nation of Liberia and especially the candidates, Weah and Mr Joseph Boakai, for living up to this creed".

Weah grew up in a Clara Town slum in Monrovia and went on to star for AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea.

The results were almost identical to those announced on Thursday evening by the commission after 98 percent of returns.

The 51-year-old Weah, a senator who entered politics after his 2002 retirement, led the first-round election in October but didn't receive enough votes to win outright.

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