Football Celebrates Weah's Liberia Election Victory

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"Pursuant to the authority vested in the Commission by the Constitution and the new election law of the Republic of Liberia, and based on the results just read, I, acting on behalf of the board of commissioners, do hereby declare the presidential ticket of senator George Weah and Jewel Howard-Taylor as the victor from the December 26, 2017 presidential run-off election", board president Jerome Korkoya said.

"I congratulate the victor, Ambassador George Manneh Weah, and pray that God will guide and guard him as he embarks upon the onerous responsibility of steering the affairs of our nation", he said.

The commission said 56 percent of the country's 2.2 million registered voters cast ballots in the runoff, which was contested twice in court amid claims of irregularities, with its original November 7 date delayed.

Weah's CDC party watched their icon miss out on the presidency in a 2005 bid.

NEC President Jerome Korkoya told reporters that definitive results would be released Friday.

He called on Liberians to put the election and the acrimony occasioned by it behind them and close ranks to push the country to its rightful place within the comity of nations.

Expected to officially take office next month, he received messages of congratulations from global leaders on Friday.

But until Weah being elected head of state was confined to powerful club directors like ex AC Milan boss Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, or the current Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, a former Boca Juniors president.

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"And in everything that we do and say, let us always think Liberia, love Liberia, and build Liberia", he added.

The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, also congratulated Weah on Twitter and wished him "much success".

At his party headquarters near the capital Monrovia, tears streamed down Mr Weah's face as he greeted supporters from a balcony.

"This election has strengthened the frontiers of democracy in Liberia, and it is our hope that it will lead to the improvement of the living standards of Liberians".

His appointment is just as special for the people of Liberia who, after two bloody civil wars which left 250,000 dead, will see their first democratic transition of power since 1944.

He also commended outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her work in transforming Liberia during her 12 years in office.

But despite his countless accolades, the chance to lead his poverty-stricken nation, where more than 80 per cent live on less than 93p a day, may be the crowning achievement for a man Nelson Mandela once dubbed "The Pride Of Africa".