Celebrations have taken over the Liberian Capital, Monrovia, as the National Elections Commission announced 98.1 percent of the total votes counted from the 26 December runoff presidential election with Coalition for Democratic Change Standard Bearer George Weah taking a comfortable lead of 720,023 votes, amounting to 61.5 percent followed by Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai trading behind with 451,088 votes or 38.5 percent of the total votes counted.
Following the announcement of the provisional results Thursday, December 28, by the Chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome Korkoya at the NEC headquarters in Sinkor, the streets of Monrovia immediately went gay as Weah's supporters ran in jubilation.
The supporters, who had trooped to the NEC headquarters, took the main Tubman Boulevard leading to their headquarters in Congo Town where they mount public speakers blaring pre-victory songs.
Weah, 51, won the first round in October with 38.4 percent of the votes, compared with the 28.8 percent of Vice President Boakai, 73. The CDC is a conglomeration of the National Patriotic Party of jailed former President Charles Taylor, the Liberia People Democratic Party of criminally indicted former House Speaker Alex Tyler, and the Congress for Democratic Change.
According to the provisional results, Weah's Coalition tops 14 of Liberia's 15 political sub-divisions, while Vice President Boakai leads in his native Lofa County Lofa.
Thursday's results by the NEC automatically means Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia's next President come January 2018 in what will be the country's first democratic transition since 1944. It follows two devastating civil wars.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf' has set up a team "for the proper management and orderly transfer of executive power from one democratically elected president to another" comprising of several members of her cabinet. The National Elections Commission is expected to announce final results of the poll today, Friday, December 29.
-Editing By Jonathan Browne