Soccer star George Weah of the main opposition Coalition for Democratic Change is leading Monday’s presidential election, according to the preliminary results released late Thursday.
Weah, who is topping most of the country’s 15 counties in the first announcement of the National Elections Commission, is closely being followed by Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party.
Commission Chairman Jerome Korkoya said the results were not final, and urged candidates and political parties to be patient and wait for official results, and avoid coming to a “premature conclusion”.
“This can lead to problems and expectations that cannot be met,” Korkoya said as he read the initial results.
The chairman warned political parties to refrain from declaring any result other than what the commission was releasing. This follows social media posts on Wednesday and early Thursday that George Weah had won the polls.
The final results must be announced by Oct. 25 and a run-off will be held next month if no one has won a majority.
Earlier in the day, Johnson Sirleaf, who became Africa’s first elected female president when she won a surprise victory in 2005 following a post-war transition, hailed the election as historic.
“We believe that all Liberians are ready for this process. I thank them for participating in this process,” she told reporters.
Liberia, Africa’s oldest modern republic, was founded by freed U.S. slaves in 1847 but its last democratic power transfer occurred in 1944.
Courtesy of Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh, Monrovia