Friday, December 29, 2017 7:59 am
Former football superstar, George Weah, is set to be Liberia’s next president with results of 98 per cent of the total votes cast in Tuesday’s runoff election officially announced.
Weah of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is in clear lead with 720,023 votes or 61.5 per cent.
His rival and incumbent Vice President, Joseph Boakai, of the ruling Unity Party (UP) is far behind with 451,088 votes representing 38.5 per cent.
Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Mr Jerome Korkoya, released the results at the commission’s headquarters in the capital, Monrovia, on Thursday amid tight security.
“We will be sharing with you report on 98.1 per cent of the return from the Dec. 26 runoff election.
“Total votes, 1,198,984. CDC, 720,023 and the Unity Party, 451,088. In all, 61.5 per cent for the CDC and 38.5 per cent for the Unity Party.
The NEC chairman said the final results would be announced on Friday.
With these results, Weah has been effectively elected, and will succeed outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose 12-year tenure ends in January.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in Monrovia reports that the announcement sparked massive celebrations by youths across the streets of the capital.
Hundreds of jubilating young people immediately besieged the CDC headquarters where the former FIFA World Footballer of the Year greeted them amid tears of joy.
It is Weah’s second attempt at the presidency, having lost to Johnson-Sirleaf in a runoff in 2015.
Jefferson Ozanga, a construction worker, said the ruling party’s “defeat’’ was a warning to African leaders not to joke with the people’s power.
“The youths of Liberia have exercised their franchise, and have achieved their goals. Give young people a chance to enjoy themselves.
“This is a warning to all African leaders; don’t play with the people’s power. The people’s power is above you.
“When you are given power, manage it well, otherwise the people will take it back from you.
“George Weah is the president of this republic, and he is going to manage the people in a proper fashion.’’
Peter Kollie, 25, a commercial motorcyclist, said it was a new dawn for Liberian youths.
“Our suffering and neglect by the ruling class is over. Weah is coming to change Liberia for the youths. It’s a great day for my country,” he said.
NAN reports that the announcement of the results was witnessed by Head of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission and former President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama.
This will be the first democratic transition of power since 1944 in a country devastated by decades of civil war.