Journalism of Courage

Former world footballer of the year George Weah is the new president of Africa’s oldest republic

Liberia has elected former soccer star George Weah as its new president following a run-off election.



Weah, 51, won the polls with 61.5% of votes and will be sworn in on Jan. 16 2018 when president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s term expires. The event will be significant as it will be Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944.

Weah’s victory at the polls comes after his third attempt having first contested back in 2005 and again in 2011, as the vice-presidential candidate under Winston Tubman. Weah was up against Joseph Boakai, Liberia’s vice-president since 2006. Boakai had also served as Liberia’s minister of agriculture in the 1980s. Boakai, 73, campaigned on the back of the incumbent government’s achievements and his superior leadership. But it failed to resonate with most of the electorate however, with Weah winning in 14 of Liberia 15 counties. Weah’s positioning and rhetoric as an outsider up against the Liberian political establishment proved far more effective.



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