Liberian general election, 2005
The 2005 Liberian general election was held on 11 October 2005, with a runoff election for the presidency held on 8 November of that year. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and Senate were up for election. The election marked the end of the political transition following Liberia's second civil war and had been stipulated in the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2003. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former World Bank employee and Liberian finance minister, won the presidential contest and became the first democratically elected female African head of state in January 2006.
Important dates and regulations
Elections were scheduled for all 64 seats in the House of Representatives, with each of Liberia's 15 counties having at least two seats and the remaining seats allotted proportionally based on voter registration. The Senate had 30 seats up for elections, with two from each county.
Prior to the election, former football star George Weah was considered by many to be the favorite, due at least partially to widespread dissatisfaction with Liberia's politicians. Weah, who had been the subject of a petition published in September 2004 urging him to run, announced his candidacy in mid-November 2004 and received a hero's welcome when he arrived in Monrovia later in the month. Weah won the first round of voting but lost in the November 8, 2005 run-off. He initially filed formal fraud charges, but subsequently dropped his allegations, citing the interests of peace.
The chairman of the transitional government, Gyude Bryant, and other members of the transitional government did not run, according to the terms of the peace deal.
On August 13, the election commission published a list of 22 presidential candidates who were cleared to run; six candidates were rejected, but Weah was cleared to stand despite complaints that he had adopted French citizenship. The Senate seats were contested by 206 candidates and the seats in the lower house were contested by 503 candidates. Campaigning for the elections began on August 15.
In late September, the Supreme Court ruled that two excluded presidential candidates, Marcus Jones and Cornelius Hunter, and an excluded legislative candidate could register to run; this ruling created the possibility that the elections would have to be postponed in order to reprint ballot papers. However, these candidates later withdrew their bids, so the elections went ahead on schedule on October 11.
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Voting took place in two rounds 11 October and 8 November. Twenty-two people contested the presidential race in the first round. George Weah, former soccer star and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former World Bank employee and finance minister finished first and second, respectively and advanced to the second round run-off, which Johnson-Sirleaf won 59%-41%, according to the National Electoral Commission.
Weah claimed election fraud, stating elections officials were stuffing ballot boxes in Johnson-Sirleaf's favor. Most elections observers, including those from the United Nations, the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States, say that the election was clean and transparent. The Carter Center observed "minor irregularities" but no major problems. Johnson-Sirleaf reminded the press that Weah has 72 hours to bring evidence of wrongdoing to her campaign according to Liberian law, calling the accusations "lies" and stating that Weah's supporters "just don't want a woman to be President in Africa."
On December 22, 2005, Weah withdrew his protests, and in January Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first democratically elected female Head of State in the history of the African Continent, and the first native female African Head of State since Empress Zauditu, who ruled Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930 and not including Queen Elizabeth II who reigned over many Commonwealth countries upon their independence and still reigns as Queen of the United Kingdom over the Atlantic African Islands and British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha .
||Number of Votes
||% of Votes
||Number of Seats
||% of Seats|
|Congress for Democratic Change||58||157,753||15.97%||15||23.44%|
|Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia||61||137,897||13.97%||8||12.50%|
|Alliance for Peace and Democracy||24||38,285||3.86%||5||7.81%|
|National Patriotic Party||50||78,751||7.97%||4||6.25%|
|New Deal Movement||21||35,721||3.62%||3||4.69%|
|All Liberia Coalition Party||13||19,471||1.97%||2||3.13%|
|National Democratic Party of Liberia||28||29,402||2.98%||1||1.56%|
|National Reformation Party||24||22,542||2.28%||1||1.56%|
|United Democratic Alliance||9||14,078||1.43%||1||1.56%|
|Free Democratic Party||12||19,326||1.96%||0||0|
|Progressive Democratic Party||12||11,997||1.21%||0||0|
|Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia||16||11,126||1.13%||0||0|
|Union of Liberian Democrats||9||10,089||1.02%||0||0|
|Labor Party of Liberia||9||7,811||0.79%||0||0|
|Liberia Equal Rights Party||3||7,256||0.73%||0||0|
|Reformed United Liberia Party||8||6,252||0.63%||0||0|
|Liberian Destiny Party||8||5,493||0.60%||0||0|
|National Vision Party of Liberia||2||3,443||0.35%||0||0|
|National Party of Liberia||1||1,532||0.16%||0||0|
|Invalid or blank votes||-||52,550||5.32%||-||-|
As no Senate existed prior to the elections, each voter was eligible to cast two ballots for different candidates. The two candidates with the highest number of votes in each county were elected. The candidate with the highest share of votes became the senior senator for the county, elected to a nine-year term. The candidate with the second-highest share became the junior senator, elected to a six-year term. This method was chosen in order to reintroduce a staggered electoral system.
||Number of Votes
||% of Votes
||Number of Seats
||% of Seats|
|Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia||29||232,636||13.51%||7||23.33%|
|Congress for Democratic Change||25||252,677||15.97%||3||10.00%|
|National Patriotic Party||20||178,259||10.35%||3||10.00%|
|Alliance for Peace and Democracy||13||119,091||6.92%||3||10.00%|
|National Democratic Party of Liberia||16||60,668||3.52%||2||6.67%|
|All Liberia Coalition Party||3||28,385||1.65%||1||3.33%|
|National Reformation Party||4||12,037||0.70%||1||3.33%|
|Progressive Democratic Party||5||17,262||1.00%||0||0%|
|Reformed United Liberia Party||4||13,293||0.77%||0||0%|
|Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia||5||13,050||0.76%||0||0%|
|United Democratic Alliance||4||11,265||0.65%||0||0%|
|Union of Liberian Democrats||1||5,503||0.32%||0||0%|
|New Deal Movement||3||4,264||0.25%||0||0%|
|Liberian Destiny Party||3||3,431||0.20%||0||0%|
|Labor Party of Liberia||1||1,645||0.10%||0||0%|
|Invalid or blank votes||-||31,206||1.81%||-||-|
- "Liberia to hold elections October 11", Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 7, 2005.
- "Liberia electoral reform bill signed into law", AFP, December 17, 2004.
- "Football legend George Weah urged to stand for Liberian presidency", AFP, October 3, 2004.
- Terence Sesay, "Presidential candidate Weah takes Monrovia by storm", Deutsche Presse-Agentur, November 24, 2004.
- "Two Liberian candidates stand down to prevent delay of election", Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 6, 2005.
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- National Elections Commission
- Liberia 2005: The Road to Democracy
- United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Electoral Division
- United Liberia - Latest News
- Press Freedom Conditions in Liberia - IFEX
- All Africa, Liberia news
- Nat Barnes for President
- Charles Brumskine Campaign Site
- Samuel Raymond Divine Campaign Site
- John Morlu for President
- Varney Sherman for President
- Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh for President
- Winston Tubman Campaign Site
- George Weah Campaign Site
- I am woman, hear my roar Katharine Houreld on the participation of women in the 2005 Liberian election.