President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has stressed the need for full international support to Liberia’s 2017 presidential and legislative elections to ensure that the process is free and fair.
According to a dispatch from Washington, D.C., President Sirleaf made the call at the weekend when she received an award from the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) of the International Republican Institute (IRI).
She is among 10 women leaders from around the world being honored to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the WDN, which started in 2006 with the goal of increasing women’s political and civic leadership.
President Sirleaf noted that the next election will be a defining moment in Liberia.
She added that it will be the first time a democratically-elected civilian president, representing the aspirations of a broad section of the Liberian citizenry, will turn over power to another democratically-elected president.
President Sirleaf indicated that she has no intention to manipulate the Liberian Constitution to hold on to power, and assured her government’s full adherence to the constitutional process, noting that she looks forward to a peaceful retirement in Liberia following the end of her tenure.
The Liberian leader applauded the IRI for the critical support the organization has provided to build and strengthen Liberia’s democratic system.
She made specific mention of IRI’s support to Liberia during the 2005 elections, the first following the devastating civil war in the country.
“IRI, we need you to work with Liberia like in 2005. We need support not only in terms of money but training and best practices,” she said, adding also that there is a need to encourage the people to vote and vote wisely.
President Sirleaf described Liberians as a resilient people, who, faced with tremendous challenges in their recent history such as the civil war and the Ebola epidemic, managed to bounce back.
“You cannot succeed if you are not prepared to fail,” she said. “Success is failure turned upside down,” she added.
President Sirleaf also lauded other organizations, which like the IRI, have contributed to the efforts to strengthen Liberia’s democratic system.
Earlier, President Sirleaf was presented the award by IRI President Mark Green, who is a former US Ambassador and Congressman, and IRI Board Member, Madam Constance Berry Newman, who is also a former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa.
Both Ambassador Green and Madam Newman described President Sirleaf as an inspiration to the world.