Former football star turned politician George Weah is a few votes away from clinching the Liberian presidency as thousands vote for a second time to elect the successor of Africa’s first democratically elected female president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
51-year-old George Weah is standing head-to-head with 73-year-old Vice President Joseph Boakai in the December 26 polls that will determine who the next president of Liberia will be. Weah was the favourite in the October 10 presidential election which he failed to secure the over 50 percent of the votes that could have ended the search.
The second round of the election delayed after presidential candidate Charles Brumskine who came third challenged the results in court with the backing of the Vice President. They complained of voter irregularities in the first round.
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The Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove electoral fraud and incompetence.
George Weah has gained the support of the majority of opposition parties who failed to qualify for the two-man contest reserved for the top two candidates.
The whole of Africa is looking forward to the success of the presidential election in the West African country which will be the first time in more than 70 years that Liberia will see one democratically elected government hand power to another.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and former Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama are in the country as observers for the National Democratic Institute and the Commonwealth Observer Group respectively.
— Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) December 25, 2017
There are other observer groups from the European Union, the African Union and other international bodies who are looking forward to achieving a peaceful process in the country which has faced years of civil war.
George Weah who led in the first round with 38.4% of the vote said he was confident of winning the second round which is his third attempt to lead the country.
Vice President Joseph Boakai who is running for president for the first time has assured that he will accept any results if they are fair and accurate. He has been Liberia’s Vice President since 2006 and has previously served as Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985 under President Samuel Doe.
There was low turnout in Tuesday’s election compared to the first round which recorded 74.52%. The National Elections Commission said it will declare the winner in four days, earlier than the two-week period stipulated by Liberia’s electoral laws.
Why is George Weah more cut out to be president than Joseph Boakai?
George Weah who is the Senator for Montserrado County is the clear favourite in this election which he led by nearly 40% of the vote in the first round. His contender, Vice President Joseph Boakai obtained 30% of the votes, quite a large margin.
Weah is younger and appeals to the youth who can relate to him better due to his glorious football days while Boakai, on the other hand, is not popular among the youth who make up the majority of Liberia’s population. Fifty-two percent of the registered voters are between 18 and 32 years.
Weah gained the support of key presidential candidates who failed to perform in the first round of the elections. They include Senator Prince Johnson who had over 100,000 votes in the Nimba County where he represents.
Who is George Weah?
Weah George Manneh is a retired Liberian international footballer and the Senator representing the Montserrado County.
He had a successful career as a footballer which started from his country before moving to Europe where he played for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Milan, Chelsea and Marseille among others before his retirement in 2003.
Weah has won several international and continental awards including the African Footballer of the Year Award on multiple times. He also played for the Liberian national team which he coached and funded on various occasions.
The 51-year-old went into active politics as a candidate in the 2005 presidential election which he lost to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting.
In 2011, he run again as a vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of Winston Tubman but failed. Weah was later elected in the Senate in 2014.
His party, the Congress for Democratic Change has gained a lot of popularity among the youth who rally behind him during his campaigns.
He is running this time as the standard bearer of the Congress For Democratic Change (CDC) with his vice presidential candidate Howard-Taylor Jewel C.