Ex-soccer star elected Liberia president

Gavin Peacock

Weah also ran in the country's last two elections, winning the first round of the 2005 vote that eventually went to Sirleaf.

"Pursuant to the authority vested in the commission by the constitution and the new electoral law of the Republic of Liberia and based on the result just read, I, acting on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, do hereby declare the presidential ticket of Senator George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor as the victor of the December 26 presidential runoff election".

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.

"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.

His election success was noted with pride by former clubs Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.

Weah is expected to take office in January.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called Liberia's president-elect George Weah to congratulate him and invite him to visit.

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Drogba's compatriot, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure wrote: "Congratulations president Weah!"

With almost all polling places reporting, Unity Party's standard-bearer Joseph Boakai has congratulated the Coalition for Democratic Change candidate George Weah on his presumptive win of the December 26 runoff presidential election.

Weah was raised in Clara Town, a poor suburb of Monrovia, and played football across the river in West Point, Liberia's biggest informal settlement, where he still commands a large following.

Vice President Joseph Boakai conceded Friday, congratulating the ex-soccer star.

With more than 98% of votes counted late Thursday, Weah had received 61.5% of ballots while Boakai received 38.5%. The clip was uploaded to Facebook shortly after it was announced the 51-year-old politician had won the election.

Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, is seeing its first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years as Africa's first female president, Nobel Peace Prize victor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, steps aside. She led the country from back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak.

The VP's earlier call to the Montserrado County Senator, and his (Boakai) public concession speech ends his quest to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - his boss of 12 years and Liberia and Africa first democratically elected female president - who many believe had never been in support of her VP's presidential bid.

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