Liberia 2005: an unusual African post-conflict election
|David Harris a1|
a1 School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
The 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the ensuing two-year-long National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), which brought together two rebel forces, the former government and members of civil society, justifiably had many critics but also one positive and possibly redeeming feature. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the realpolitik nature of the CPA and the barely disguised gross corruption of the members of the coalition government, the protagonists in the second Liberian civil war (2000–03) complied with the agreement and the peace process held. The culmination of this sequence of events was the 11 October 2005 national elections, the 8 November presidential run-off and the 16 January 2006 inauguration. In several ways, this was the African post-conflict election that broke the mould, but not just in that a woman, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, won the presidential race, and a football star, George Weah, came second. The virtual absence of transformed rebel forces or an overbearing incumbent in the electoral races, partially as a result of the CPA and NTGL, gave these polls extraordinary features in an African setting.
(Published Online August 3 2006)