NAIROBI – Former soccer star George Weah won this week’s Liberian presidential runoff, the National Elections Commission said on Thursday.
With 98 percent of ballots counted, Weah, 51, leads current Vice President Joseph Boakai by 61.5 percent to 38.47 percent.
On Friday, the commission will formally designate Weah as the successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who made history in 2005 by becoming Africa’s first female head of state.
Weah, the only African footballer to win both the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards, was a star for clubs such as AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain before retiring from soccer in 2002 to launch a political career.
He took 38.4 percent of the vote in the first round of voting on Oct. 10, followed by Boakai with 28.8 percent.
Originally set for Nov. 7, the runoff was postponed after the third-place finisher, Charles Brumskine, filed a complaint with the National Elections Commission alleging fraud and irregularities.
Liberia’s Supreme Court dismissed the claim and re-scheduled the second round for Dec. 26.
More than 2 million voters were eligible to cast ballots as Liberia enjoys its first democratic transition of power since 1944.