Liberia’s President Sirleaf Facing Stiff Oppostion in Re-election Bid

Posted October 9th, 2011 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Just days after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is facing a strong challenge in an election Tuesday that is focusing on opposition charges that she has failed to repair the ravages of war to the West African nation after six years in power.

The award has highlighted Ms. Sirleaf's standing within the international community. But at home her critics say evidence of the 14-year-long civil war remain with infrastructure shortcomings and security provided by the continuing presence of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Ms. Sirleaf is facing more than a dozen opponents in Tuesday's voting. But her stiffest competition comes from a slate headed by Winston Tubman whose running mate is football star George Weah.

Critics have questioned the timing of Friday's announcement of the Nobel prize, which Ms. Sirleaf won along with two other women. They say it could provide an unfair boost in a competitive contest.

If no candidate wins an outright majority of the votes on Tuesday, a second-round run-off will be held.

Ms. Sirleaf has drawn the support of another prominent Liberian woman and peace prize winner, Leymah Gbowee. The third Nobel laureate is Yemen activist Tawakkul Karman.

The Liberian leader has been criticized for ignoring last year's recommendations of a South-African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission that she should be banned from public office for 30 years for her backing of warlord and former President Charles Taylor. He is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crime charges in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Tubman is a nephew of former Liberian President William Tubman.