Former Ballon d'Or Winner George Weah Thanks Liberia For Voting For Him

Football legend George Weah wins Liberian presidential election

State radio correspondents reported unofficial results overnight indicating that former worldwide soccer player George Weah led in several counties, but election authorities warned the two parties to "stop making premature pronouncements".

The victor of the election will replace Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Africa's first democratically elected president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Liberians head to the polls to choose a leader in a closely contested runoff between the two candidates after seven weeks of delays caused by a legal challenge brought against the electoral commission by Boakai.

Football legend George Weah wins Liberian presidential election
Former Ballon d'Or Winner George Weah Thanks Liberia For Voting For Him

"This transition is critical and if we succeed, if Liberia succeeds, West Africa succeeded and Africa succeeded", he said.

But with the vote held the day after Christmas, some national and worldwide observers warned that turnout may have been affected.

Mr Weah played for a string of football clubs, including AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris St-Germain, and is the only African footballer to have won both Fifa World Player of the Year and the Ballon D'Or.

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His rival, Boakai (73) is seen as a continuity candidate and has won praise for his years of public service and image as a corruption-free family man, while fending off allegations he failed to tackle poverty while in government. That triggered a run-off as neither made it past the 50 percent needed to win outright. It says tally of votes started Tuesday, 26 December across the country and it is continuing.

His rags to riches story helped him tap into dissatisfaction with Johnson Sirleaf's 12-year tenure, which drew a line under years of civil war but was criticised for failing to root out elite corruption or persistent poverty.

Former footballer George Weah is set to become Liberia's president at the second attempt.

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The first-round winner's connections with the office of the presidency run even deeper, as Jewel Howard-Taylor - ex-wife of the revered former Liberian President Charles Taylor - is his vice-presidential pick.

The National Elections Commission said that with 98.1% of ballots counted, Mr Weah had won 61.5% of the vote.

On Tuesday polling stations displayed voter lists as a mark of transparency.

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