Liberians, Paris Saint-Germain, others hail Weah's presidential victory

31 December, 2017, 04:05 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Arjan de Zeeuw

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

The congratulatory message was contained in a statement issued Friday by Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media & publicity.

Ekweremadu urged the former World Footballer of the Year "to reciprocate the vast goodwill and confidence reposed in him by the good people of Liberia and the worldwide community by running an all-inclusive government".

"President Buhari also commends the Liberian people on the peaceful conduct of the historic presidential run-off election", he said, stressing that "this is another plus on Africa's democratic scoreboard".

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.

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"Mr. Weah's election represents a victory for both him and the Liberian people, and I hope the new president rises to the occasion and leads Liberia to prosperity".

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".

Mr Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president next month. "All we are asking is for all Liberians to come together so we can build our country".

In his first public comments since his rival conceded Friday, Weah tweeted in French in response to congratulations from French President Emmanuel Macron. He is the only African to win FIFA World Player of the Year.

Weah is expected to take office in January.

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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.

While with AC Milan, Weah in 1995 won World Player of the Year.

Preliminary results showed Mr Weah won Tuesday's run-off with 61.5 per cent of the vote, based on more than 98 per cent of the ballots cast.

Africa's first female president, Nobel Peace Prize victor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is stepping aside after two terms at the head of the nation founded by freed American slaves. The election marks Liberia's first democratic transition of power in over 70 years as the country continues to grapple with the legacy of two back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, during which an estimated 250,000 people were killed.

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