SAFA hails Weah's election as Liberia president

El Hadji Diouf

"Warm congratulations to George Oppong Weah on his decisive victory in Liberia's peaceful presidential run-off, thus becoming the next President of the Republic Liberia", Akufo-Addo wrote on via his official Facebook account.

Ms Howard-Taylor is the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, who is serving 50 years in a British prison for war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Boakai said he had called Weah to congratulate him and appealed for unity, saying: "My love for the country is far (more) profound than my desire for the presidency".

His popularity at home fuelled a previous run for president in 2005, and he won the first round but lost the second round to Ms Johnson Sirleaf, who he will now succeed.

The President also noted that Sirleaf deserves special commendation for the statesmanship she has shown in ensuring free and fair elections that would pave the way for a peaceful transfer of political power from one democratically elected leader to another for the first time in 73 years.

Buhari described Weah's victory as an affirmation of the will of the Liberian people to remain united, peaceful and prosperous.

Weah, a retired global footballer and standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was declared victor on Friday after the Boxing Day run-off polls by Liberia's national electoral commission. "All we are asking is for all Liberians to come together so we can build our country".

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

Weah is expected to take office in January.

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

The results were almost identical to those announced on Thursday evening by the commission after 98 percent of returns. The election marks Liberia's first democratic transition of power in over 70 years as the country continues to grapple with the legacy of two back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, during which an estimated 250,000 people were killed.

"Best wishes for the success of President-elect George Weah, and Vice President-elect, Jewel Taylor".

The 51-year-old Weah, a senator who entered politics after his 2002 retirement, led the first-round election in October but didn't receive enough votes to win outright.

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