Liberia: Liberians hope for peace in vote still haunted by civil war | Reuters

Thousands lined up at polling booths in Liberia’s capital on Tuesday for their first democratic transfer of power in 73 years in a vote haunted by a savage civil war that ended in 2003. Many Liberians on Tuesday praised 78-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for keeping peace since the dark days of the 14-year conflict when gangs of drugged child soldiers wearing ammunition belts marauded through the streets. Yet, while preparations have been peaceful, a former rebel leader Prince Johnson is one of the 20 candidates and an ex-wife of warlord Charles Taylor, now in a British jail, is the running mate of one of the favorites, former soccer player George Weah. Unlike neighboring Sierra Leone which had a U.N.-backed court for civil war crimes committed in both countries, Liberia has prioritized reconciliation over justice and some of those involved in the war that killed a quarter of a million people are still prominent public figures.

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