Thursday, November 8, 2012

8 November 2005 - Votes Are Harder To Get Than Goals

On 8 November 2005, George Weah, the 1995 World Player of the Year, lost his bid to become president of Liberia.

The striker enjoyed a long and successful career in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East from 1985 to 2003, including lengthy and prominent spells at Monaco (1988-92), Paris Saint-Germain (1992-95), and Milan (1995-2000). He also made 60 appearances for the Liberian national team between 1988 and 2007.

A three-time African Player of the Year (1989, 1994, 1995), Weah's annus mirabilus came in 1995, when he finished his final season at PSG by winning the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue, as well as leading the UEFA Champions League in scoring. A few months later, he won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award and the Ballon d'Or. He remains the only African player to claim either award.

Upon his retirement from club football in 2005, he declared his intention to run for president of Liberia. Despite heavy criticism for lacking a formal education, Weah finished first among all candidates in the 11 October general election, which put him in a runoff against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the second-place finisher. But Weah lost the 8 November runoff, taking 40.6% of the vote compared to 59.4% for Sirleaf. He initially claimed the election had been corrupted, but later withdrew the allegations.

He remained active in Liberian politics, running against Sirleaf again in 2011, that time as vice-presidential candidate, but Sirleaf won with 90.7% of the vote.

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