Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was confirmed the victor of a run-off poll boycotted by the opposition, and vowed to reach out to her opponents and reconcile the divided nation. Sirleaf’s re-election was seen as a foregone conclusion after rival Winston Tubman pulled out of the race and urged his supporters to boycott the polls over fears the process was rigged.
The National Elections Commission announced that with results tallied from 86.6 percent of polling stations, Sirleaf had won 90.8 percent of votes cast and Tubman nine percent. Only 37.4 percent of the country’s 1.8 million registered voters cast their ballots, with many believed to have stayed away due the boycott call and violence on the eve of the poll, when police fired on a group of opposition protesters.
The Carter Center’s 52-person observer mission said the vote was “conducted transparently”, though: “Regrettably, the election was marred by an opposition boycott, violence on the eve of the election, and low voter turnout.” The United States urged Liberians to “peacefully accept” the results.
“We’re obviously concerned and expressed those concerns about pre-election violence, and we continue to monitor very closely the situation on the ground,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president, is facing a tough second term with her nation more divided than ever after the tainted election process. She has extended a hand of friendship to opposition parties, saying she hoped to put together an inclusive government as she had when she was elected in 2005, just two years after the end of a brutal 14-year conflict.
Full Article: allAfrica.com: Liberia: Sirleaf Wins Disputed Polls.