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Weah elected as new Liberian leader

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-30 10:09
George Weah, former soccer player and presidential candidate of Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), prepares his ballot during presidential elections at a polling station in Monrovia, Liberia, Dec 26, 2017.  [Photo/Agencies]

MONROVIA, Liberia - Celebrations have begun in Liberia after former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah won the West African nation's presidential election by a wide margin.

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

With more than 98 percent of votes counted late on Thursday from this week's runoff, Weah received 61.5 percent of ballots while Boakai received 38.5 percent.

"My fellow Liberians, I deeply feel the emotion of all the nation. I measure the importance and the responsibility of the immense task which I embrace today. Change is on," Weah posted on Twitter.

His supporters paraded through the streets of the capital Monrovia and honked car horns to celebrate the news.

"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 car horns and loud cheers as dusk fell.

"When you feel sick for some time and you receive proper medication - that is how I feel now. He will be good for our country. He is King George!"

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the ex-star striker's victory in a tweet on Friday. "Congratulations to Mister George for this election! Great moment for Liberia!"

Weah grew up in a Clara Town slum in Monrovia and went on to star for AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea. He is the only African to win FIFA World Player of the Year.

Liberia, a nation founded by freed slaves from the United States, is seeing its first peaceful transfer of power in more than 70 years as Africa's first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, steps aside. She led the country from back-to-back civil wars and saw it through a deadly Ebola outbreak that killed nearly 5,000 Liberians.

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