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2011 Elections Crucial for Liberia

Published on Wednesday 8th December 2010 2011 Elections Crucial for Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the 2011 elections as the defining event for Liberia.

The elections, the President said, will determine if Liberia truly gets on the course of democracy, enabling the country to achieve its development goals. She made the statement over the weekend.

"For us, it has to be a good elections, a free and fair elections," the President declared, adding, "an elections that would enable us to build upon the progress and the gains that we have all achieved so far, to which we have all contributed to the maintenance of peace in the pursuit of development."

If the elections are conducted successfully, Liberia will be on a path that will not only ensure sustained peace but growth and development, bringing the prosperity that we all want so much for all of our citizens, the President stated.

Speaking Thursday at the start of a two-day conference to mitigate the use of violence in Liberia's 2011 elections, the President urged all stakeholders to commit themselves in ensuring that the elections are successful.

She reiterated Government's commitment to free and fair elections, void of violence, and ensuring that the country moves ahead and serves as a true example to others "that we can fight each other, but that we can rise again when we can overcome those obstacles."

Meanwhile, the Liberian leader has called on all contestants to avoid acts that would disturb the peace the country now enjoys.

The President observed that most of those contesting the 2011 elections have, in their lifetime, done and achieved so much.

"We should not see the elections as something that we're so obsessed with that we would want to destroy our country simply because we want to pursue power," the President cautioned.

She reminded all those seeking state power to remember that no politician would want to inherit a process and a result that "lacks the full legitimacy to enable us to be able to carry out that mandate".

"So it is message to all of us, that as much as we will compete and contest, that at the end of the day, we commit to a process that leads to acceptable and legitimate results nationally and internationally as a basis upon which anyone who governs will be able to carry on the work of the state," President Sirleaf said.

National Elections Chairman James Fromayan described the forum as very important and urged Liberians to take advantage of the opportunity provided by international partners in strengthening the country's emerging democracy through the holding of the conference, which would facilitate the smooth conduct of free, fair, and safe elections in 2011.

Other speakers at the program were the Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Empowerment, Dr. E. Gyimah-Boadi; Dr. Jendayi Frazer, Director, Center for International Policy & Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University; and Dr. Randy Newcomb, President & CEO, Humanity United.

Still others were Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Autonomous Commissions & Agencies, and Rep. Gabriel Smith, Chairman on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Elections & Inaugurations.

The two-day conference, jointly sponsored by the Center for International Policy & Innovation (CIPI), the Carnegie Mellon University, the Ghana Center for Democratic Empowerment, and the National Elections Commission of Liberia, aims to assist the NEC, the Liberian Government and its people to prepare for the 2011 elections.

It hopes to achieve the goal by bringing together an array of stakeholders who, in coordination with each other, have the potential to deter the use of violence to influence and/or derail the upcoming elections.

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