Liberia’s stress test for democracy

By Mary Moran |

The recent presidential and legislative elections in Liberia and the series of court challenges that preceded it, certainly tested the country’s fragile institutions. In the end, the courts, the National Elections Board, and the candidates themselves all seem to have proved their ability to withstand pressure. It was with relief and a new confidence in their constitution and their institutions that Liberians inaugurated their new president, George Weah, at the end of January.

The October 2017 election, Liberia’s third since the 2003 peace agreement and the first to be conducted without the support of a large United Nations Peace-keeping force, was successful in peacefully and democratically transferring power from one party to another. This was the first time since 1884 that such a transition had occurred. Although effectively a single party state from 1878 to 1980, Liberian elections in the past were hotly contested and internal competition within the ruling True Whig Party was fierce. As the oldest independent republic on the continent, no one could claim that Liberians were unfamiliar with representative democracy or with the process of elections. The post-war period (2003 through the present) has seen over twenty different candidates run for president in each of the past three elections.

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Source: News Now

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