Liberia’s choice has been narrowed to two strikingly different candidates. Mr. Weah (39) is a former AC Milan and Chelsea striker who has made a selling point of his lack of experience and qualifications. Instead, he has stressed an empathy with ordinary voters. Though he is a millionaire with a home in Florida, he refers regularly to his upbringing in a slum in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
Mr. Weah’s supporters chant the slogan: “He know book, he don’t no book — I’ll vote for him,” meaning that his lack of education is no bar to high office.
His rival in the run-off, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf (66) was an economist before entering politics in 1972 and would be Africa’s first female President if she wins. Her campaign stresses her experience. One poster has a latest image of her alongside a 1986 photograph of her as a young woman emerging from prison and raising her hand to greet jubilant supporters. She was jailed twice for speeches critical of the corrupt former President, Samuel Doe, who seized power in a coup in 1980.
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