Though Weah established a new home for his family in New York City, he maintained close ties to Liberia, where he is known as “King George” and enjoys considerable popularity. Wracked by poverty and civil war in the 1990s, Liberia was able to sustain the Lone Star—the national team—only with the assistance of Weah, who played for, coached, and to a large extent financed the team. In 2002, after the Lone Star nearly qualified for the World Cup and then performed poorly at the African Cup of Nations, Weah retired from football.
Following the ouster of Pres. Charles Taylor in 2003, Weah returned to Liberia as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. In 2005 he ran for president of the country as a member of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party. After winning the first round of voting, he was defeated by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP) in the runoff election in November 2005. Weah initially challenged the election results in court, but he dropped his case the following month.
Weah faced Johnson Sirleaf again in the October 2011 presidential election, but this time as a vice presidential candidate running on the CDC ticket with presidential candidate Winston Tubman. Johnson Sirleaf and Tubman emerged with the most votes, but—as neither garnered a majority—a runoff election was held on November 8. Less than a week before the runoff, however, Tubman cited CDC complaints about irregularities in the first round of voting and withdrew from the race. He also urged his supporters to boycott the election. International observers, who had previously declared the first round of voting to be free and fair, said his allegations were unsubstantiated. Johnson Sirleaf was reelected by a wide margin, although her victory was clouded by the withdrawal of the Tubman-Weah ticket from the race and by low voter turnout.
In December 2014 Weah ran for the position of a senator of Montserrado county under the banner of the CDC. He handily defeated his nearest opponent, Robert Sirleaf (one of the president’s sons), taking 78 percent of the vote to Sirleaf’s almost 11 percent. Two years later, in an effort to consolidate opposition strength in preparation for the 2017 elections, Weah’s CDC merged with two other parties to form the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). Weah was the CDC’s candidate in the October 2017 presidential election, with Jewel Howard Taylor, senator from Bong county and former wife of the ousted president Taylor, as his running mate.
Weah was the top vote-getter in the first round of voting, winning about 38 percent in the October 10 poll. He and his nearest challenger, Vice President Joseph Boakai, who represented the UP and received about 29 percent of the vote, advanced to the November 7 runoff election. The election was indefinitely postponed, however, after the Supreme Court ruled on November 6 that the electoral commission could not hold the poll until the commission had finished investigating allegations of fraud and incompetence filed by the third-place winner, Charles Brumskine, and his Liberty Party(LP). The LP’s complaints had the support of other political parties, including the UP. Furthermore, the UP alleged that Johnson Sirleaf had interfered in the electoral process to Weah’s benefit—a charge which she denied. After the electoral commission concluded its investigation and dismissed the LP’s allegations, on December 7 the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by the UP and LP and ordered the runoff election to be held.