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Liberians hail Weah's presidential victory
31 December 2017, 04:02 | Nina Mathis
Drogba, Oliseh, Baffoe hail Weah
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday congratulated George Weah on his election as the next President of the Republic of Liberia.
Liberia's elections board certified former worldwide football star George Weah as the victor of the nation's presidential election.
"President Buhari also commends the Liberian people on the peaceful conduct of the historic presidential run-off election", he said, stressing that "this is another plus on Africa's democratic scoreboard".
Weah's victory means a by-election will be held in the coming months to fill two now vacant senate seats - those of Weah and his running mate, Jewel Howard Taylor, the ex-wife of former war lord Charles Taylor who was convicted in 2012 of war crimes.
Buhari described Weah's victory as an affirmation of the will of the Liberian people to remain united, peaceful and prosperous.
In his first public comments after his rival conceded, Weah said he was "honored to join a new generation of heads of state".
The 51-year-old Weah, a senator who entered politics after retirement from soccer more than a decade ago, led the first-round vote in October but didn't receive enough ballots to win outright over the 73-year-old Boakai, who has been vice president for 12 years.
Weah adds that "we have a lot to do together to accelerate the building of tomorrow's Africa".
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"I am most grateful to the nation of Liberia and especially the candidates, Weah and Mr Joseph Boakai, for living up to this creed".
Weah, the only African ever to have won both FIFA's World Player of the Year and the coveted Ballon D'Or, missed out on the presidency in a 2005 bid.
With more than 98 percent of votes counted late on Thursday from this week's runoff, Weah received 61.5 percent of ballots while Boakai received 38.5 percent.
He is set to take office in January.
Weah played with AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, among others.
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 tumultuous events of the past 70 years in Liberia, where an estimated 250,000 people died during back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, have prevented a democratic handover from taking place since 1944.
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He told the club website : "I didn't think it would be given with the length of conversation between the officials". I don't know if I can be happy for the one point as the referee took three points from us.