Weah out front in elec­tion

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page -

LON­DON – For­mer foot­baller Ge­orge Weah is set to be­come Liberia’s pres­i­dent at the sec­ond at­tempt.

With most bal­lots from Tues­day’s run-off vote counted, Weah is well ahead of op­po­nent Joseph Boakai.

He will suc­ceed Ellen John­son Sir­leaf, Africa’s first elected fe­male pres­i­dent, in Liberia’s first demo­cratic han­dover in decades.

Sir­leaf de­feated Weah in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion run-off in 2005, af­ter the end of a bru­tal civil war.

As news of Weah’s vic­tory emerged yes­ter­day, his sup­port­ers be­gan cel­e­brat­ing in the cap­i­tal Monrovia.

The for­mer foot­ball star’s cam­paign – un­der the Coali­tion for Demo­cratic Change ban­ner – ap­pealed to the youth vote, while in­cum­bent Vice Pres­i­dent Boakai was seen as old and out of touch.

But Weah’s elec­tion is not with­out con­tro­versy, as his run­ning mate is Jewel Tay­lor, for­mer wife of the war­lord and ex-pres­i­dent Charles Tay­lor, who is serv­ing a jail sen­tence in the UK for war crimes.

Weah, 51, won the first round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Oc­to­ber with 38.4 per cent of the vote, com­pared with the 28.8 per cent won by sec­ond-placed Boakai, 73. The fail­ure of any can­di­date to se­cure an out­right ma­jor­ity forced the run-off.

The Na­tional Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (NEC) said yes­ter­day that with 98.1 per cent of the run-off vote counted, Weah had won 61.5 per cent of the vote while Boakai was far be­hind with 38.5 per cent.

Weah played for a string of foot­ball clubs, in­clud­ing AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris St-ger­main, and is the only African foot­baller to have won both FIFA World Player of the Year and the Bal­lon D’OR.

He en­tered pol­i­tics af­ter his re­tire­ment from the game in 2002 and is a se­na­tor in Liberia’s par­lia­ment.

Liberia, founded by freed US slaves in the 19th cen­tury, has not had


a smooth trans­fer of power from one elected pres­i­dent to another since 1944.

Le­gal chal­lenges de­layed the vote to re­place Sir­leaf, and turnout was low. Elec­tion of­fi­cials put turnout at 56 per cent.

More than two mil­lion peo­ple were el­i­gi­ble to cast their bal­lots in the na­tion of 4.6 mil­lion peo­ple.

Sir­leaf took of­fice in 2006, af­ter her pre­de­ces­sor Tay­lor was forced out by rebels in 2003, end­ing a long civil war.

Tay­lor is serv­ing his 50-year prison sen­tence in the UK for war crimes re­lated to the con­flict in neigh­bour­ing Sierra Leone. (BBC)


Three years ago, yet another left­hander, Shaun Marsh, of Aus­tralia, was run out for 99 in the Box­ing Day Test against In­dia.

South Africa’s im­pres­sive all­rounder Jacques Kal­lis was run out for the top­score of 99 against Aus­tralia in the MCG Box­ing Day match of 2001.

Aus­tralian skip­per Ricky Ponting was out for 99 against South Africa in the Box­ing Day Test of 2008. South Africa went on to win the match by nine wick­ets and clinch a se­ries win in Aus­tralia for the first time.

The MCG jinx had no ef­fect on the leg­endary Sir Don­ald Brad­man. He scored a whop­ping nine Test hun­dreds in Mel­bourne and in a dis­tin­guished ca­reer span­ning 52 matches, was never dis­missed in the 90s.

Another great Aus­tralian Greg Chap­pell, who started and fin­ished his ca­reer with a Test ton, never got out in the nineties dur­ing his 87 Tests.

In 156 matches, for­mer Aus­tralian cap­tain Al­lan Border was dis­missed only once in the 90s and that was in the An­tigua Test of 1984 when he fell to El­dine Bap­tiste.

Five West In­di­ans have been dis­missed for 99 in Test cricket. They are Robert Chris­tiani, Al­lan Rae, Ro­han Kan­hai, Mau­rice Foster and Richie Richard­son (twice). Richard­son was the last West In­dian to en­dure that fate, fall­ing leg-be­fore to Aus­tralian Mark Waugh, be­fore a ca­pac­ity crowd at Kens­ing­ton Oval in 1991. He was bat­ting with Gor­don Greenidge, who went on to make 226.

Chris­tiani was the first West In­dian to be out one short of a hun­dred, suf­fer­ing that fate in the 1948 Test at Kens­ing­ton Oval against Eng­land.

Alvin Kal­lichar­ran has eight scores in the 90s, fall­ing seven times. The el­e­gant Guyanese was dis­missed twice in In­dia for 98, in Mum­bai in 1975 and Chen­nai in 1979. Kal­lichar­ran never made a Test hun­dred in Eng­land, the clos­est he came was at Trent Bridge in 1976, when he fell to Derek Un­der­wood for 97.

The revered Sir Frank Wor­rell was dis­missed in the 90s only once, and that was on de­but when he was out for 97 against Eng­land at the Queen’s Park Oval in 1948.

Gor­don Greenidge has six scores in the 90s, two of them in one match. On the 1980 tour of New Zealand, Greenidge was out for 91 and 97 in Christchurch, fall­ing both times to lef­t­arm seamer Gary Troup.

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