A year in Liberia, West Africa

Friday, November 11, 2005

Elections, Liberian style

A little taste of the jubilant mood that gripped Monrovia during the election campaign, in which the Liberians had to choose from among 22 presidential candidates...

... supporters from the National Patriotic Party (Taylor's former party) ground traffic to a halt outside their headquarters on Tubman Boulevard ...

... George Weah's supporters were also making themselves seen and heard on the streets...

... while Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's team managed to plaster the town with her posters ...

On both election days (11 October and 8 November), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) made a big display of their hardware, just to make sure that would-be troublemakers think twice before trying anything rash. It's doubtful whether UNMIL's show was needed on the election day, as the vast majority of Liberians were really eager to cast their vote... with the one notable exception of Talyor, of course, who's still in exile in Nigeria.

Just to be safe, the National Elections Commission was heavily fortified and guarded by Nigerian UMMIL peacekeepers.

The presence of international election observers - a total of 369 observers turned from the African Union, the EU and various US political organisations - definitely helped to keep things calm, although one observer was too scared to go inside the polling station opposite where we live... the scardy cat!

In any case, both rounds of the election went by without any major incidents.


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