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Onetime Warlord Endorses Former Soccer Star for Liberian Presidency

  • VOA News

FILE - Prince Johnson, who at the time was himself a presidential candidate, campaigns in the village of Demeh in Bomi County, Liberia, Sept. 14, 2011. The former warlord has endorsed George Manneh Weah in next month's presidential runoff.

Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord and now a senator, has endorsed former soccer star George Weah in the runoff for Liberia's presidency next month.

"I am calling on my supporters to join me in supporting George Manneh Weah for the presidency," Johnson said Thursday at a news conference in Monrovia.

Johnson's support should help Weah, who won 38.4 percent of the vote in the first round earlier this month, more than anyone else but shy of a simple majority needed to win outright.

FILE - George Weah, former soccer player and presidential candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change, votes at a polling station in Monrovia, Liberia, Oct.10, 2017.
FILE - George Weah, former soccer player and presidential candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change, votes at a polling station in Monrovia, Liberia, Oct.10, 2017.

On November 7, Weah faces off against Vice President Joseph Boakai, who won 28.8 percent of the vote on October 10.

Johnson gained worldwide notoriety through a video showing him sipping beer while his men tortured President Samuel Doe to death in 1990. He has since become an evangelical preacher and politician.

The announcement followed two weeks of political wrangling, during which the two front-runners from October's first round sought to gain support from a field of 18 other candidates.

Weah is popular, mainly as a star player for Italian and French soccer clubs during the 1990s. But he lacks political experience, and his policies to alleviate widespread poverty and underdevelopment are vague, making extra support vital.

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