Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed the nation on Monday on the eve of the presidential elections, the first democratic power transfer in 73 years.
Johnson Sirleaf, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping bring peace after civil war turned her country into a wasteland, urged for a peaceful day at the polls on Tuesday and said it would be the first time in three generations Liberians will be transferring presidential authority democratically and peacefully.
Twenty candidates are standing to replace Johnson Sirleaf in a first round, with nobody likely to win a majority outright, the top two are expected to face each other in a run-off in around a month.
Among the front-runners seen as likely to win a place in the run-off are Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, representing the ruling Unity Party, and football star George Weah, who lost to Johnson Sirleaf in 2005.
Campaigning for continuity, Boakai said the government could have done better and promised to fight corruption.
Johnson Sirleaf, 78, has many accomplishments to boast since she became Africa’s first modern female head of state. The economy is four times the size it was when she took office in 2005.
The gangs of drug addled youths who raped and mutilated their way across the nation during a civil war that ended in 2003 are a vivid but receding memory.
– By REUTERS