Weah wins Liberian presidential polls

George Weah: A footballer's leap to presidential palace

Liberians and worldwide football stars have joined together in celebrating George Weah's presidential victory in the country's first democratic transfer of power in decades, as the former striker vowed to usher in a period of change.

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

He wrote "Congratulations to the people of Liberia on the successful election of their new President, Mr. George Weah".

Reports say the former AC Milan striker is all but the victor of Tuesday's run-off, as he now leads incumbent vice-president Joseph Boakai with more than 60 per cent of the votes.

The President, on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, equally applauded the efforts of the country's National Election Commission, as well as regional and worldwide observers contributed immensely to the electoral process and the strengthening of post-conflict democracy in the West African country.

It is the former AC Milan man's second time of running for Liberia's top office, having lost to current president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005.

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Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, is seeing its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years as Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize victor, steps down.

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". Vice President Joseph Boakai has accepted defeat. "All we are asking is for all Liberians to come together so we can build our country".

Vice-President Joseph Boakai conceded on Friday, congratulating Weah.

Their Congress for Democratic Change party received 61.5 percent of the final tally, beating Boakai's Unity Party, which got 38.5 percent of the votes, National Election Commission Chairman Jerome Korkoya said.

Weah grew up in a Clara Town slum in Monrovia and went on to star for AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea. Macron invited him to visit, saying Weah had "a special place in the French's hearts". She led the country from back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak that killed almost 5,000 Liberians.

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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