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Liberia's Ruling Party Ousts President Johnson Sirleaf


FILE - Then-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attends a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Monrovia, Liberia, Oct. 12, 2017.

Liberia's ruling Unity Party has expelled the country's outgoing president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from the party.

Unity voted her out late Saturday. She was ousted because of her alleged decision not to support Vice President Joseph Boakai, the party's candidate in last year's presidential poll.

FILE - Joseph Nyuma Boakai votes at a polling station in Monrovia, Liberia.
FILE - Joseph Nyuma Boakai votes at a polling station in Monrovia, Liberia.

Boakai, who served as Johnson Sirleaf's vice president for 12 years, lost the election to former soccer star George Weah.

Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was not eligible to run after serving two terms, the maximum allowed under Liberia's constitution.

The electoral commission said Weah won 61.5 percent of December's presidential runoff vote and 14 of Liberia's 15 counties.

President-elect George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan. 2, 2018.
President-elect George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan. 2, 2018.

Critics of Boakai, 73, accused him of doing little as Johnson Sirleaf's vice president. Critics of Weah, 51, say he has almost no real political or governing experience.

Weah's running mate was senator Jewel Howard-Taylor. She is the ex-wife of former rebel leader and president Charles Taylor, who sparked Liberia's civil war in 1989 and is serving a 50-year prison sentence in Britain for his role in atrocities in Sierra Leone.

Taylor still has supporters in Liberia, and his ex-wife is credited with helping Weah win key counties in the first round of voting.

If all continues to go smoothly, Liberia will see its first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in more than 70 years.

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