Presidential election results (first round)
|Candidate||Party||No. of votes||% of votes|
|Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf||Unity Party||530 020||43.9%|
|Winston Tubman||Congress for Democratic Change||394 370||32.7%|
|Prince Yormie Johnson||National Union for Democratic Progress||139 786||11.6%|
|Charles Brumskine||Liberty Party||65 800||5.5%|
|Kennedy Sandy||Liberia Transformation Party||13 612||1.1%|
|Gladys Beyan||Grassroots Democratic Party||12 740||1.1%|
Presidential runoff results
|Candidate||Party||% of votes|
|Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf||Unity Party||90.6%|
|Winston Tubman||Congress for Democratic Change||9.4%|
House of Representatives election results
|Party||No. of votes||% of votes||No. of seats (73)|
|Unity Party||226 291||19.02%||24|
|Congress for Democratic Change||163 592||13.75%||11|
|Liberty Party||117 285||9.86%||7|
|National Union for Democratic Progress||50 010||4.2%||6|
|National Democratic Coalition||70 580||5.93%||5|
|National Patriotic Party||42 420||3.56%||3|
|Alliance for Peace and Democracy||26 537||2.23%||3|
|Movement for Progressive Change||30 205||2.54%||2|
|Liberia Transformation Party||57 734||4.85%||1|
|Liberia Destiny Party||13 310||1.12%||1|
|National Reformation Party||9 813||0.82%||1|
Senate election results
|Party||No. of votes||% of votes||No. of seats (30)|
|Unity Party||164 851||13.78%||10|
|Congress for Democratic Change||259 161||21.67%||3|
|Liberty Party||134 357||11.23%||1|
|National Union for Democratic Progress||51 494||4.3%||2|
|National Democratic Coalition||41 717||3.49%||1|
|National Patriotic Party||70 260||5.87%||6|
|Alliance for Peace and Democracy||29 777||2.49%||2|
|Liberia Destiny Party||19 993||1.67%||1|
|National Democratic Party of Liberia||2440||0.2%||1|
In a poll that was supposed to solidify Liberia’s young fragile democracy, allegations of fraud and vote rigging have threatened to plunge the country back into civil war, the memory of which is still fresh in the minds of many war-weary Liberians. The controversy occurred with the opposition leader of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party, Winston Tubman, accusing his counterpart and incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of rigging the vote to gain a second term in charge.
Tubman outright rejected the first-round Presidential election results and subsequently boycotted the suceeding runoff vote, which pitted him against Johnson-Sirleaf, despite international pressure for him to participate. As a result, Johnson-Sirleaf strolled to victory and into another term of office. Johnson-Sirleaf garnered 90.6% of the vote in a poll that saw a low turnout as a result of the boycott by Tubman supporters, as well as many Johnson-Sirleaf supporters not voting for fear of violence and intimidation.
In the wake of the election, Tubman has repeatedly called on opposition members to stage informal rallies in protest of the result. He claims that the electoral process was bloodied by police forces opening fire on an unauthorised election rally that killed two people. The CDC’s members handed out flyers, calling for a “revolutionary funeral” in which the deceased’s bodies would be paraded through the streets of Monrovia to honour them. However, there is no record of such events actually taking place.
Tubman’s actions are a threat to the political stability of Liberia and various local and international critics have criticised the CDC leader after observers from the United Nations, Economic Community of West African States and the African Union all labelled the election mostly free and fair. The US has called Tubman’s accusations of electoral fraud as unsubstantiated, and his decision to drop out of the runoff as deeply disappointing.
Liberia’s President is elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term. Should no candidate get an absolute majority of the vote, the top two candidates will enter into a runoff vote, as demonstrated in that country’s recent election.
The country’s legislature is bicameral and separated into the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives consists of 73 seats and members are elected by direct popular vote in single-member constituencies, using the first-past-the-post system. Members in the House serve for six years.
The Senate consists of 30 seats, with two seats per county, and members are elected by direct popular vote also using the first-past-the-post system. Fifteen members are considered senior as they are placed first in their respective county. These members serve for nine years. The remaining junior members, who placed second, serve six years in the Senate.
If the challenges facing Johnson-Sirleaf seemed difficult, her controversial re-election would not have aided her plight in bringing Liberia to democratic reconciliation. In the wake of the election, she has launched a probe into violence that took place on the eve of the first round, a move that has been welcomed by the US.
Johnson-Sirleaf has since offered an olive branch to Tubman, calling for peace and an end to polarising actions that may cause violence for the sake of stability.
The recent Nobel Peace Prize Laureate intends to use her new term to reduce poverty, create jobs, promote economic growth and increase spending on basic infrastructure. She does concede, however, that her job has been made that much more difficult given that Tubman’s supporters argue that she lacks legitimacy. In addition, with Johnson-Sirleaf’s Unity Party failing to win a majority of seats in the House of Assembly, the possibility of a hung Parliament is likely, with the CDC looking to block any legislation mooted by the ruling party.
A hung parliament may be a concern for foreign investors, who have earmarked billions of dollars for mining and other natural resources in the country. Liberia is currently in the process of reviewing the legal requirements for resource extraction, in which it hopes to attract large mining companies to extract iron-ore and drill for offshore oil.
Johnson-Sirleaf is faced with the immediate task of appeasing opposition groups that threaten political stability in the country. The threat of escalating violence is real and needs to be handled in the correct manner before the country can make progress in social and economic development, as well as promote reconciliation. If this can be done, Johnson-Sirleaf, and her Unity Party will go a long way to consolidate its powerbase and silence its critics in a region that is vital for the security of West Africa as a whole.
USA Today. Liberian presidential poll marred by boycott (November 8, 2011).
Polity. Liberian election under cloud after boycott (November 9, 2011).
Polity. Troubled Liberia poll could slow Sirleaf agenda (November 14, 2011).
Business Live. Liberia’s Sirleaf wins 90% of votes (November 11, 2011).
African Elections Database. Elections in Liberia (November 14, 2011).
News 24. Liberian opposition calls for mass rally (November 14, 2011).