He is already a millionaire soccer star. Now he could be about to become the president of Liberia. George Weah, 39, has cast his ballot in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections today – the first since a bloody 14-year civil war that ended two years ago. The former AC Milan striker is seen as a front runner, along with ex-World Bank economist, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. She is hoping to become Africa’s first elected woman president.
The candidates also include a representative of the party of former president and warlord Charles Taylor, who is wanted for war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone. During the civil war, it is estimated that a quarter of a million people were killed and a third of the population was displaced. Election fever has gripped the country like never before. Hours before the polls opened, hundreds of people had lined up overnight outside polling booths. International monitors say there has been a smooth start to voting.
For many Liberians, this is their first chance to cast a ballot. Observers say it is an opportunity for the country to leave behind a cycle of violence and instability.