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Buhari congratulates Weah on winning historic Liberia election

31 December, 2017, 04:02 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock Supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change, celebrate their victory at party headquarters in Monrovia Liberia 29 December 2017. The National Elections Commission

Liberians and worldwide football stars have joined together in celebrating George Weah's presidential victory in the country's first democratic transfer of power in decades, as the former striker vowed to usher in a period of change.

The White House called the vote "a major milestone for Liberia's democracy" while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres applauded "all Liberians for the successful completion of the elections process, which was conducted in a peaceful environment".

With 98 per cent of the votes so far counted, Mr. Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change polled 61.5 per cent.

He has drawn some criticism for picking Jewel Howard-Taylor, the powerful ex-wife of former warlord and president Charles Taylor, as his vice-president.

"Liberians have a certain sense of hope that George Weah will change the status quo, that he will bring transformation to the country", Ms Neaiai Pailey said.

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.

"Wishing President-elect Weah and Liberians a peaceful transition, he reassures them of Nigeria's determination to sustain the current cordial relationship with Liberia", Buhari said.

In his first public comments after his rival conceded, Weah said he was "honored to join a new generation of heads of state". "Weah's presidency to (have a) pro-poor, pro-growth policy that will put the people at the centre of national development", said political analyst Vita Ishmael Tue.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the ex-star striker's victory in a tweet on Friday. He is the only African to win FIFA World Player of the Year.

"I am most grateful to the nation of Liberia and especially the candidates, Weah and Mr Joseph Boakai, for living up to this creed".

Weah is expected to take office in January.

Weah grew up in a Clara Town slum in Monrovia and went on to star for AC Milan, Paris St Germain and Chelsea.

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.

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