Liberia’s National Elections Commission has presented Certificate of Return to the President-elect, George Weah; Vice President-elect, Jewel Howard-Taylor; and the newly elected members of the House of Representatives.
The Chairman of NEC, Jerome Korkoya, performed the ceremony at the commission’s headquarters in Monrovia on Thursday evening.
According to local media, 66 out of the 73 elected lawmakers were certificated, leaving out seven who are facing legal challenges over their election in the October 10 general polls.
The new leaders will be sworn in on January 22, which is the third working Monday of January as stipulated in the Liberian Constitution.
Speaking at the occasion, the NEC boss reminded the newly elected public officers of the huge responsibility that comes with the mantle of leadership entrusted to them.
Korkoya said: “The certificate we are presenting to you represents conferral of legitimacy to pronounce you to the world as the duly elected officials.
“It is also an embodiment of the power, trust and aspiration reposed in you by your various constituents and the people of Liberia as a whole.
“Expectations are high to change the people’s living conditions through the laws, policies and programmes of the incoming government.”
Korkoya acknowledged the contributions of international partners, including ECOWAS, AU, USAID, EU and UNDP, which led to the successful conduct of the elections.
Korkoya expressed appreciation to all contestants in the elections for respecting the rule of law by exploring judicial means to seek redress after the elections.
The president-elect, George Weah, described his election as a unifying factor in the country.
Weah pledged to fulfil his campaign promised of improving the lives of Liberians, calling on members of the legislature to put aside politics and work in the interest of the country.
He said: “I went to Boakai (outgoing Vice President) not to make news but because campaign is over and it is time to do the Liberian people’s work.
“Our quest is for all Liberians to work together to move our country forward; in the interest of the people let’s work.”
The president-elect reiterated his assurance of greater freedoms, saying he would not interfere with the tenants of democracy, especially political dissent.
Weah said: “I am your friend but my interest is the Liberian people.
“Any attempt to promote clampdown on the political rights of fewer Liberians has the propensity of disuniting the country.”
Speaking on behalf of the elected lawmakers, the current Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hans Barchue, promised to work with the CDC-led government.
In separate remarks, members of the international community present at the occasion restated their commitment to support the incoming administration.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Farid Zarif, lauded Liberians for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.
Zarif called on the new administration to build on the gains made under the leadership of outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
He urged the new government to properly manage the country’s abundant natural resources to improve the lives of Liberians.
He said: “Let me quote you Mr. President-elect that it doesn’t make sense that Liberia is so rich, yet its people are so poor.
“That is the beginning of another vision. Let’s bring the two things together.”