Former world footballer of the year George Weah has won a seat in Liberia’s Senate to represent the capital, defeating the son of the president and boosting his political fortunes ahead of a presidential election in 2017.
Weah won the Montserrado County seat that includes the capital Monrovia with 78 per cent of the vote, defeating Robert Sirleaf, the son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s National Elections Commission said.
Weah, leader of the country’s largest opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change, lost the 2005 presidential election to Sirleaf and lost again in 2011 when he was a vice presidential candidate. He is expected to stand again in 2017.
Liberia’s efforts to recover from a long civil war that ended in 2003 and re-establish democracy have been hampered this year by an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 3,300 people in the country and more than 7,500 people in West Africa.
“Results from all 4,701 polling places in the country have already been counted and tallied. The recorded voter turnout for the election is 479,936 which represents 25.2 per cent of the total number of registered voters,” election commission chairman Jerome Korkoya said in a statement following the elections to the Senate — the upper house of the legislature.