The population of Liberia in 2017 was 4.8 million people, with the majority living in rural areas. The economy of Liberia is largely based on agriculture, mining and services, with a GDP of $2 billion and a low per capita income. Liberia is a member of the United Nations, African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It has close ties to many countries throughout Africa as well as its former colonial masters. In terms of politics, it is a presidential republic with President George Weah as its head of state. The Prime Minister is Moses Blah who leads the Unity Party which has been in power since 2017. See militarynous for Liberia military and defense.
Liberia. The October presidential election, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s successor was to be elected, was expected to be a smooth story. Among the 20 candidates who were registered in July were former soccer pro George Weah, who came second after Johnson Sirleaf in the 2005 election, Vice President Joseph Boakai, senator and former warlord Prince Johnson, Freedom Party leader Charles Brumskine and business leader Alexander Cummings. The only female candidate was the former photo model MacDella Cooper, who leads a foundation to improve the situation for women and children. Election day went smoothly but not without some problems, including in the form of a lack of election material and errors in voting lengths. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for frequently used acronyms and abbreviations related to as well as country profile of Liberia.
When the votes were counted, it turned out that no candidate was close to getting the 50% of the votes required to be elected. Georg Weah (Congress for Democratic Change) had the strongest support with 38% of the vote. Then came Joseph Boakai (from the ruling Unity Party) with 29%, Charles Brumskine, 10%, and Prince Johnson, 8%. This made it clear that it would be a decisive round of elections between Weah and Boakai. Brumskine refused to acknowledge the result, claiming that there had been cheating and the Freedom Party and the Unity Party submitted formal protests to the country’s election commission. According to the appeal, ballot papers had been filled out in advance, people were prevented from voting and election observers were harassed and therefore the parties demanded that the result be annulled.
According to Countryaah.com, the fraud charges caused the Supreme Court to postpone the second round of elections, which should have actually been held on November 7, indefinitely. According to the court, the Election Commission must investigate the allegations of electoral fraud before the second round could be held. President Johnson Sirleaf was critical of the Supreme Court’s decision, which she considered to be a threat to democracy in the country. On November 20, the Election Commission announced that no evidence of electoral fraud had emerged.
The Unity Party and the Freedom Party finally appealed to the Supreme Court, which did not consider that the evidence was sufficient to invalidate the election. The second round of elections between Weah and Boakai was held on December 26 and the former took a clear victory with over 61% of the vote.
The coup d’état of SK Doe in 1980 put an end to the hegemony of the African Americans, in power since the foundation of the republic in 1847, and opened a bitter political confrontation that resulted, starting from 1989, in a bloody and long civil war, in which they emerged also ethnic rivalries that were previously dormant.
The clash, which involved numerous political groups, was complicated and, in some ways, fueled by the direct and indirect intervention of the Western powers and the African states of the area, which financed the various organizations, sometimes favoring further divisions, offering logistical bases and intervening as real warring parties in support of the various factions. Especially Nigeria, which was in control of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) monitoring group, supported by its English-speaking allies and the United States, on the one hand, and the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, supported from France, on the other hand, they heavily influenced the course of events, slowing down and making the search for possible solutions even more difficult.
Several attempts at settlement between the parties followed one another without success in the first half of the nineties, under the auspices of the United Nations and the OAU (Organization de l’Unité Africaine): in July 1993 an agreement was signed in Cotonou in Benin, which, however, had no positive consequences due to the substantial impossibility of proceeding with the disarmament of the factions and the emergence of new armed groups opposed to the agreement. To further complicate the picture came new splits both in the NPF (National Patriotic Front), led by Ch. Taylor, and in the ULIMO (United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, born in 1991 by followers of former President Doe), divided between a predominantly Mandingo component (ULIMO-K, from the initial of the name of its leader A. Kromah) and a predominantly krahn component (ULIMO-J, led by R. Johnson). A new negative outcome was the ceasefire agreements signed in Accra, Ghana, in December 1994, and those of Abuja, Nigeria, in August 1995, which provided for the formation of a Council of State with the participation of the leaders of the main armed groups. Difficulties in governing the situation emerged dramatically in early 1996, when there was an intensification of violence and a general rise in the level of confrontation; in the spring, the United States was forced to send its troops to evacuate American citizens and hundreds of other foreign nationals who had taken refuge in the US embassy in Monrovia.
It was only in August 1996 that the signing of a new agreement in Abuja made it possible to disarm most of the warring factions. The main armed groups disbanded to give life to new political parties, and in July 1997, under the control of various international organizations, presidential and legislative elections were held at the same time, won by a large margin respectively by Taylor and his party., the NPP (National Patriotic Party). Agreements and elections, however, did not lead to a definitive normalization of civil and political life, and in September 1998 new armed clashes affected the capital.