MONROVIA – Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai offered congratulations on Friday to the man who defeated him in this week’s presidential runoff election, retired soccer great George Weah.
“I called the ambassador George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change to congratulate him as winner in the presidential contest,” Boakai told journalists.
With 98 percent of the ballots counted, Weah leads Boakai, the leader of the ruling Unity Party, by 61.5 percent to 38.47 percent, according to figures from the National Elections Commission.
After 11 years in government, Boakai said he was ready to continue serving his country in any way possible.
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 prepared for its first democratic transition of power since 1944.