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Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf celebrated her 71st birthday Thursday in the southeastern city of Greenville, Sinoe County reportedly saying that she has not ruled out running for re-election in 2011.
Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president, campaigned on the promise that she would serve just one term.
Presidential Press Secretary Cyrus Badio said the president has a constitutional right to run or not to run.
“What the president has said is nothing new. She has said that her primary pre-occupation right now is the fact that our citizens need jobs, our citizens need food, our citizens need security, they need health security, they need education, and when it gets to that point where it is necessary for her to make her decision she will make that decision based on all of the factors involved,” he said.
In July this year, Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommended in its final report that President Sirleaf and 50 others be banned for 30 years from holding public office because they supported warring factions during Liberia’s civil war.<!-- IMAGE -->
Badio said the Liberia National Council of Churches and the national legislature were both reviewing the TRC report.
“The TRC report is another issue, and I’m not sure whether the TRC report is law and Gospel. It is being discussed in Liberia and at the end of the day the Liberian people will find a way out,” Badio said.
President Sirleaf’s opposition has accused her of acquiescing in the fight against corruption as more and more government officials have been implicated recently in corruption-related scandals.
But Badio said President Sirleaf’s fight against corruption has remained unwavering.
“For the first time in the history of this country we have an independent auditing commission which is going after some of the discrepancies in the financial system of our country. We have also the Anti-Corruption Commission.So steps are being taken to address the issue of corruption despite all the limitations, the bureaucracy, the shortcomings in our legal system,” Badio said.
He said the European Union Commission recently offered Liberia budgetary support citing satisfaction with the Liberian government’s fight against corruption.
President Sirleaf will be 73 years old in 2011. Badio said the President he was amazed by the level of energy the presidents brings to the job.
He said the president draws her energy from the support she gets from Liberians.<!-- IMAGE -->