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Ex-Soccer Star Weah to Run for Liberian Presidency

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July 5 (Bloomberg) -- George Weah, a former world soccer player of the year, said he will run for the Liberian presidency next year, after failing to win the post in 2005.

The former A.C. Milan striker will compete against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in an October 2011 election in the West African nation of 3.7 million people, after losing to her in the country’s first ballot after a 14-year civil war.

“You can say that I will run again,” he told reporters in Johannesburg today. “I think I have the confidence of my people.”

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund last month said they would cancel $4.6 billion of Liberia’s foreign debt, a move that will enable it to spend revenue on rebuilding an economy ruined by the civil war that ended in 2003.

Johnson-Sirleaf defeated Weah with almost 20 percent more of the vote in a 2005 run-off.

Weah was brought up in a poor part of the capital Monrovia and dropped out of secondary school before making his fortune in Europe and winning the player of the year award in 1995.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dan Baynes in Johannesburg at dbaynes@bloomberg.net, Franz Wild in Johannesburg at 1929 or fwild@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg in Jerusalem at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

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