News / Africa

    Re-Elected Liberian President Promises Reconciliation Initiative

    An election official checks the voter registration card for incumbent leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during presidential elections at her home village of Fefee outside the capital Monrovia November 8, 2011.
    An election official checks the voter registration card for incumbent leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during presidential elections at her home village of Fefee outside the capital Monrovia November 8, 2011.

    Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says one of her fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates will lead an effort at national reconciliation following an election process marred by an opposition boycott and deadly rioting.  

    In a nationwide address, President Sirleaf said it is time to move Liberia forward in a spirit of unity and reconciliation after a contentious electoral season.  She announced the formation of a national peace and reconciliation initiative to be headed by Leymah Gbowee, who shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize with Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman and President Sirleaf.

    "Together, we have a mission to fulfill," said Sirleaf. "We must work in harmony as one people, one destiny, one Liberia.  Today I urge all of us to move on and look to the future with courage and hope.  There is so much work ahead."

    With nearly all the ballots counted following Tuesday's presidential run-off, Mrs. Sirleaf was re-elected with more than 90 percent of the vote.  She says the country must now get back to the task of development and progress.

    "We must get back to the task of building our basic infrastructure, creating jobs, bringing electricity and clean water to more and more homes," she said. "We must get back to the task of educating our children, providing health services, and teaching our young people the skills they need to rebuild our country."

    The opposition Congress for Democratic Change party boycotted the presidential run-off over allegations of vote fraud in last month's first round of voting.  President Sirleaf says she intends to reach out to her political opponents in a second term.

    Opposition candidate Winston Tubman continues to reject the election results but has not ruled out working with the new government.  President Sirleaf says there is no going forward from 14 years of civil war unless all Liberians work together.

    "To every Liberian out there, this is your election, your country, your future," said President Sirleaf. "Together we have written the first page of a new chapter in Liberia.  May God Almighty bless our country and safeguard our democracy."

    The president promised to investigate Monday's death of at least two opposition demonstrators who were killed in running battles with riot police.

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