Weah for the win?
Once a celebrated striker for AC Milan, George Weah is on the brink of scoring the most important goal in his career – winning the Liberian presidency. After a hectic campaign with 20 contenders in the first round of voting on 10 October, Weah emerged the clear leader with 39% of the votes. He grew up in the slums of Monrovia with little access to education and healthcare, and his story of fighting against the odds to become a football star resonated with Liberians. He will take on the establishment candidate, vice-president Joseph Boakai, in the second round of voting on 7 November. The momentum is with Weah, and he says he has learned his lesson from the 2005 elections when he was leading in the first round but was easily defeated by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after she stitched together a coalition of the smaller parties. Boakai will struggle to do that, having fallen out with veteran politician Charles Brumskine, who was running third with 9.8% of the votes. And most supporters of Alex Cummings, a former Coca-cola executive, and Prince Johnson, a militia leader turned evangelical preacher, look set to back Weah. But two questions haunt Weah: his close relations with jailed warlord Charles Taylor, whose ex-wife Jewel Howard is Weah's running mate; and the source of finance for his glitzy populist campaign.
George Weah is the front runner in the upcoming vote