Provisional election results released on Thursday by the National Election Commission indicated that ex-football superstar, George Weah, emerged winner of Liberia presidential run-off, beating Vice-President Joseph Boakai.
Weah is set to replace incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who took over at the helm of Africa’s oldest republic in 2006.
The commission added that with 98.1 per cent of all votes counted, Boakai had only secured 38.5 per cent support.
Ahead of Thursday’s results, armed and helmeted police deployed outside the poll body’s headquarters and some of Weah’s supporters were already rejoicing.
“The Liberian people clearly made their choice… and all together we are very confident in the result of the electoral process,” Weah tweeted before the official results were announced.
Weah topped the first round of voting in October with 38.4 per cent of ballots but failed to win the 50 per cent necessary to avoid a run-off. Boakai came second with 28.8 per cent.
Weah is the only African ever to have won the FIFA’s World Player of the Year and the coveted Ballon d’Or. The 51-year-old starred at top-flight European football clubs – Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the 1990s before playing briefly in England for Chelsea and Manchester City later in his career.
“Is it President Weah?” said the New Dawn newspaper on Thursday, referring to a man who has the backing of heavyweights including former warlord Prince Johnson and apparently the covert support of outgoing President Sirleaf.
Her office said it had set up a team “for the proper management and orderly transfer of executive power from one democratically elected President to another.”
The National Democratic Institute made this known on Thursday in its preliminary statement issued in Monrovia.
In the statement, the delegation called on the “Liberian political parties and candidates to cooperate in good faith with the National Election Commission and for the results to be expeditiously released.”
Jonathan said, “I am proud of Liberians, who have come from crisis to democracy and have shown themselves to be a model of peace and stability in the region. Democracy goes beyond election day. If Liberia succeeds, West Africa succeeds, Africa succeeds, and the world succeeds.”
Speaking in the same vein, Kosovo’s former President, Atifete Jahjaga, said, “The NDI delegation congratulates the people of Liberia for exercising their right to vote and for making a historic step towards the consolidation of democracy in their country.
“It is my hope that the positive trends that we have observed during this election will be sustained and further improved during future elections.”
The delegation’s preliminary statement provided recommendations to the government of Liberia, the National Election Commission, political parties and candidates, security forces, civil society, the media, the international community, as well as other stakeholders