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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The political landscape of postwar Liberia: reflections on national reconciliation and elections
Authors:Bs, MortenISNI
Utas, MatsISNI
Periodical:Africa Today (ISSN 1527-1978)
Geographic term:Liberia
political conflicts
External link:https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_today/v060/60.4.boas.pdf
Abstract:Elections in postconflict countries are commonly seen as evidence that hostilities have come to an end and a new era of peace, reconciliation, and development will begin; however, the reality may be quite different, particularly when setbacks include lingering antagonism and ongoing division between opposing groups or former parties to the conflict. With a focus on the 2011 elections in postconflict Liberia, this article presents some of the central historical background to be considered, the dilemmas to be resolved, and obstacles to be overcome if not only democratic elections, but also a democratic society, is to emerge there. Although Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won a second term as president, her victory may have come at a high cost. Voter turnout in the second and decisive round of the election was only 36.8 percent of the total number of registered voters. This low turnout was the consequence of a request by the main opposition party, the Coalition for Democratic Change, that people not vote. The question therefore is: should the 2011 elections be seen as evidence of a strengthening of democracy, or as evidence of a cementing of the old cleavages that led to the civil war? Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]