The former footballer George Weah has won Liberia’s presidential election, defeating vice-president Joseph Boakai in a runoff with 61.5% of the vote.
Thursday’s announcement by the country’s election commission chairman, Jerome Korkoyah, means Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s president next month, in what will be the country’s first democratic transition since 1944. It follows two devastating civil wars.
The commission said Weah had taken 61.5% of the vote, based on 98.1% of ballots cast.
Weah topped the first round of voting in October with 38.4% of ballots, but failed to win the 50% necessary to avoid a runoff. Boakai came second with 28.8%.
Weah, 51, is the only African to be Fifa’s world player of the year or to have won the coveted Ballon d’Or for Europe’s best player.
Weah played for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the 1990s before moving to England late in his career for spells at Chelsea and Manchester City.
President Sirleaf’s 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,” adding that it included several ministers.
An estimated 250,000 people died during back-to-back civil wars in Liberia between 1989-2003, and political instability has prevented any democratic handover of power since 1944.
The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, hailed the “peaceful conduct” of the vote, praising “the government, political parties and the people of Liberia for the orderly poll”.