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George Weah

Former African soccer star George Weah has been elected as Liberia’s president.

With nearly all ballots from December 26 run-off vote counted, George Weah is well ahead of his opponent, Vice-President Joseph Boakai, with more than 60% of the vote.

As news of George Weah’s victory emerged, his supporters began celebrating in the capital Monrovia.

George Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president, in Liberia’s first democratic handover in decades.

After the results were announced, he tweeted: “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.”

George Weah starred at top-flight European soccer clubs Paris St-Germain (PSG) and AC Milan, before ending his career in England with brief stays at Chelsea and Manchester City.

He is the only African to have won both FIFA World Player of the Year and the prestigious Ballon D’Or.

Image source Wikipedia

Ebola 2014: Liberia holds postponed elections

George Weah, 51, entered politics after his retirement from the game in 2002 and is currently a senator in Liberia’s parliament.

His former club, PSG, congratulated him on Twitter.

Liberia, founded by freed American slaves in the 19th Century, has not had a smooth transfer of power from one elected president to another since 1944.

George Weah won the first round of the presidential election in October with 38.4% of the vote, compared with the 28.8% won by second-placed Joseph Boakai, 73. The failure of any candidate to secure an outright majority forced the run-off.

On December 28, the National Elections Commission (NEC) said that with 98.1% of the run-off vote counted, George Weah had won 61.5% of the vote while Joseph Boakai was far behind with 38.5%.

Legal challenges delayed the vote to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and turnout was low – put at 56% by election officials.

However, election observers have praised the conduct of the poll.

More than two million people were eligible to cast their ballots from Liberia’s population of 4.6 million.

Liberia is voting in an election that was postponed in October because of the Ebola outbreak.

Liberians are choosing representatives to the country’s senate.

Among the 139 candidates vying for 15 seats are former football star George Weah and Robert Sirleaf, the son of Liberia’s president.

Ebola has infected about 19,000 people in West Africa, killing more than 7,373 – with 3,346 deaths in Liberia, according to the latest UN figures.

The senate elections were postponed in October in a bid to stop campaigners and voters spreading the virus.

The election is being held just days after neighboring Sierra Leone clamped down on public gatherings.

It has banned Sunday trading, restricted travel between districts and prohibited public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year.

One of Sierra Leone’s top doctors, Victor Willoughby, died from Ebola on Thursday, just hours after the arrival of experimental drug ZMab which could have been used to treat him.

Healthcare workers are among those most at risk of catching Ebola which is spread by bodily fluids and requires close contact with victims.Liberia elections 2014

In November, Liberia’s election commission chairman, Jerome Korkoya, urged candidates and supporters to follow public health regulations in the run-up to the senate elections.

“For instance, the transportation of large groups of electorates by candidates clustered in vehicles and the congregation of huge number of people will be regulated,” he said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Liberia on Friday at the start of a two-day visit to countries affected by Ebola in West Africa. He continued on to Guinea on Saturday.

After stepping off the plane, he washed his hands and had his temperature taken – two important practices to help stop the spread of the disease.

Ban Ki-moon urged people to follow strict health regulations until the epidemic was over.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lifted a state of emergency last month that was imposed in August to control the outbreak.

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