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Liberia VP Boakai concedes presidential race to former soccer star Weah
31 December 2017, 12:31 | Bernice Figueroa
Weah elected as new Liberian leader
In a nationwide broadcast from his party's headquarters in Monrovia on Friday, Mr. Boakai who was flanked by his supporters and party leaders, said he had already called Mr. Weah to congratulate him.
The 1995 Ballon d'Or victor is set to become the president of Liberia, as the elections come to an end.
"I called George Weah to congratulate him as victor in the presidential contest", he said, speaking softly to muted applause.
In a speech to his supporters, the Unity Party candidate said he had spoken to Weah on the phone and offered him "a hand of goodwill, friendship and gratitude" as he accepted the provisional election results.
"And in everything that we do and say, let us always think Liberia, love Liberia, and build Liberia", he added. While the 2017 election will give way to a historic democratic transition not seen in several decades, it is also the first time in many years in the country for a loser in a presidential election to consciously accept results and concede defeat to the victor. Apart from finishing as top scorer for the Italian giants during his first spell, he finished as the UEFA Champions League top goalscorer with seven goals a season eariler with Paris Saint-Germain.
Mr Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president next month.
He will take office in January.
Retired soccer star George Weah became Liberia's president, winning a clear majority from voters in the West African nation.
Vice-President Joseph Boakai conceded on Friday, congratulating Weah.
Outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is at the end of her second six-year term, will transfer power to Weah in the nation's first democratic transition since 1944.
"Although we worked so seriously for a different outcome than what [the] results show, my faith, values and principles dictate that I respect the will of the people as announced by the National Elections Commission", Boakai said.
With over 98% of votes counted, Weah won 61.5% of the ballots while his rival, Veep Joseph Boakai, only 38.5%.
Johnson Sirleaf's 12-year rule cemented peace after Liberia's 1989-2003 civil war and won her the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize but she has been criticized over high-level corruption scandals and persistent poverty.
Celebrations have begun in Liberia as former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah is set to be declared the victor of the West African nation's presidential election.
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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