George Weah, presidential candidate of Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in Liberia, shows his voter’s card at a polling station. Picture: Reuters

Liberian presidential candidate and former world-class footballer George Weah has emerged on top in preliminary election results, the National Electoral Commission announced Friday.

Weah, who belongs to the largest opposition party Congress for Democratic Change, has so far achieved the most votes in 11 of the 15 electoral districts.

Only 30 per cent of the votes have been processed so far, said the head of the commission, Jerome Korkoya.

Weah's main competitor, Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party, beat him in just one electoral district.

Citizens of the west African nation went to the polls on Tuesday to choose their new parliament as well as their head of state.

In the past few decades Liberia was blighted first by civil war and then the ebola epidemic. The country's first peaceful transition of power, when Nobel Peace Prize-winner Ellen Johnson-Sirlief assumed office, took place years ago.

Johnson-Sirlief, modern Africa's first elected female leader, is to leave her presidential post after two terms.

The 78-year-old was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for working to bring peace to her country after it was ravaged by a 14-year civil war.