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Football star George Weah wins Liberian presidential election

Former professional footballer George Weah has won the Liberia presidential run-off, according to officials.

The country’s electoral commission said the ex-AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City striker had taken 61.5% of the vote from 98.1% of ballots cast.

He beat Vice President Joseph Boakai, who took 38.5% of the vote.

But the full result is not expected until Friday, and neither candidate has made a public comment yet. Of the countries’ 15 regions, four are yet to release the results.

If it follows as expected, it means Mr Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to become president next month, the country’s first democratic transition since 1944.

Before the official results were announced, Mr Weah tweeted: “The Liberian people clearly made their choice… and all together we are very confident in the result of the electoral process.”

The process had been delayed by several weeks after a legal challenge by Mr Boakai.

Armed police were stationed outside the polling body’s headquarters on Thursday, as some of Mr Weah’s supporters started their celebrations.

Mr Weah, 51, grew up in poverty in Liberia.

Former international Liberian football star turned politician George Weah, addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Monrovia on October 8, 2017, three days ahead of the country's elections. Liberians go to the polls on October 10, to pick their first new president in 12 years as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf closes the page on two terms dominated by post-war reconstruction and the Ebola crisis. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Mr Weah also ran for the presidency in 2005

He was raised by his grandmother in one of the worst slums of Liberia’s capital Monrovia, but he went on to have a glittering football career in the 1990s.

He played for a number of different teams in Africa before being transferred to Monaco where he was coached by Arsene Wenger.

He also played for Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Chelsea and Man City.

General Director of French sport daily L�Equipe and France Football Francois Moriniere, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, President of the Amaury Group Marie-Odile Amaury, African football legend George Weah and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke pose for a family photo after the creation of the FIFA Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) award during a FIFA and France Football joint press conference on July 5, 2010 in Sandton, near Johannesburg. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN (Photo credit should read ST
He is the first and only African player to have won the Ballon d’Or

He is the first and only African player to have won both FIFA’s World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d’Or.

This is the second time he has run for the presidency in Liberia, the first being in 2005.

He formed the Congress for Democratic Change but was defeated by the current president.

Then in 2011 he came second as a vice presidential candidate.

Supporters of George Weah celebrate the result
Supporters of George Weah celebrate the result

He is currently senator for Montserrado County in Liberia after being elected in 2014.

He won 38.4% of votes in the first round on 10 October, while his opponent Mr Boakai came second with 28.8%.

This triggered the run-off as neither made it past the 50% needed for an outright win.

Throughout his campaign for election, he put his focus on education, jobs, infrastructure and health care, but came under fire for “vague” policies.

He pledged to create 50,000 jobs in his first 150 days in power.

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