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Liberia - Præsident-valg 2005 med 22 kandidater
LIBERIA: Presidential hopefuls for 11 October polls
IRINnews.org, 9. oktober 2005
Præsentation af de forventet dominerende kandidater ved præsidentvalget i Liberia den 11. oktober 2005.
MONROVIA, 9 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - When the polls open on Tuesday, Liberians will have to choose between 22 candidates vying to be the country’s first president since the end of a devastating 14-year civil war. Here is a guide to some of the big names jostling for the top job:
This Liberian-educated lawyer started his political life as minister of labour back in the late 1970s.
He became a confidante of warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, and in 1997 was named leader of the Senate.
However in 1999, Brumskine, who was considered to be a moderate, broke with Taylor and fled the country, expressing fears for his personal safety. He went into exile in the United States, returning in 2003.
Now 54, he is running on the ticket of the Liberty Party, which he founded this year.
Affectionately dubbed Liberia’s “Iron Lady”, this 66-year-old Harvard-educated grandmother might become Africa’s first elected female leader.
Her resume boasts stints as an economist with Citibank and the World Bank, and she was also the head of the Africa bureau of the United Nations Development Programme,
Sirleaf was imprisoned twice for speeches critical of then-president Samuel Doe. The chink in her armour that opponents seize on is her early support for Taylor in his 1989 uprising against Doe, which was to usher in years of civil war.
She points to the fact that she ran against Taylor in Liberia’s last elections in 1997. She lost heavily to him, winning less than 10 percent of the vote.
As the candidate for the Unity Party, she has promised to continue her fight for honest, transparent government. She once resigned as finance minister after protesting excessive spending and also refused to take a Senate seat, denouncing electoral fraud.
As leader of the country’s biggest rebel movement, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), Conneh was behind the wave of assaults on the capital Monrovia in 2003, which were to be the climax of the civil war.
Now in his mid-40s, he is running for the presidency on behalf of the Progressive Democracy Party, which he founded after the war.
Rights groups have criticised his presidential bid, saying that under his command, combatants committed scores of human rights violations, such as massacres, torture and sexual violence.
Election-watchers do not consider Conneh to be a front-runner. Many Monrovia residents have not forgotten LURD’s final push on the city when fighters indiscriminately lobbed mortars, often hitting houses and churches. Conneh’s estranged wife Aisha, described as the real power in LURD, has also thrown her support behind Sirleaf.
Viewed as a Taylor protégé, Massaquoi has inherited his mentor’s mantle and is bidding to be president for the National Patriotic Party.
Some party members, including Massaquoi’s main challenger for the nomination, have said that Taylor made phone calls to sway the vote and get his man on the ticket.
The 50-year-old served as Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Planning and Economy under Taylor.
A trained agronomist, Massaquoi has made empowering rural Liberians and addressing land reform the hallmark of his campaign.
Another Harvard-educated candidate, Sherman has worked as legal advisor to tyre manufacturing giant, Firestone,
He has also represented top Liberian banks and the scores of Lebanese merchants in the country, and was chairman of the board of the Liberian Petroleum Refining Company.
The 53-year-old has already sat in the lower house of parliament and the senate and is now standing for the presidency under the banner of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia.
He is widely seen as the confidante and candidate of Gyude Bryant, the head of Liberia’s transitional government, who will hand over power to the newly-elected administration in January.
Tubman is the nephew of Liberia’s longest-serving president, William Tubman, and is descended from the freed American slaves who founded the country back in 1847.
The 64-year-old legal expert was educated at the London School of Economics and Harvard.
He has served as Justice Minister and Foreign Minister, as well as being Liberia’s ambassador to the United Nations and most recently the UN envoy to Somalia.
He is running on the ticket of the National Democratic Party of Liberia.
The soccer millionaire hailed as “King George” grew up playing football barefoot on the backstreets of a Monrovia shantytown and is now bidding to be president on behalf of the Congress for Democratic Change.
Weah started out at local football clubs, Young Survivor and Invincible Eleven, and then went on to play for European heavyweights --- Monaco, Paris St Germain, AC Milan and Chelsea. He was crowned World Player of the Year in 1995.
He has since worked as a good-will ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). And he returned from the United States to encourage child soldiers to lay down their weapons during the UN-led disarmament process.
In a country where more than half of the electorate is under 32, he draws tens of thousands of young people to his rallies. They see him as a rare success story in the country’s turbulent history and someone who can offer a fresh political start.
His critics cite that very lack of political involvement and education as the reason why he should not become the country’s 23rd president. The 39-year-old argues that you don’t need a doctorate to know two top priorities: turning the lights on and getting the water running.