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George Weah heads for Liberia presidential run-off

Former soccer star George Weah has won the first round of the Liberian presidential elections and is expected to face second placed Joseph Boakai in a run-off next month.

Weah is on the lead with 39% of the votes and less than 5 percent of precincts still to be counted according to the electoral commission figures released on Sunday.

Joseph Boakai, the incumbent vice president is placed second with 29.1%.

The final certified results from Tuesday’s poll which saw a 75% turnout must be announced by Oct. 25.

A total of 20 candidates competed in last week’s poll seeking to succeed Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in what would be Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years.

Weah, a national hero in Liberia, became the first non-European to win European soccer’s player of the year award in 1995, the same year he picked up the African and world player of the year awards.

He finished runner-up to Johnson Sirleaf in a 2005 election that helped draw a line under years of civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. He was the vice-presidential candidate on a ticket with Winston Tubman, who lost to her six years later.

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