Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf inaugurated as Liberian president

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been inaugurated as Liberia's first elected female President, and also the first elected female head of state in Africa.

Her Vice President, also sworn in, is Joseph Boakai.

The inauguration took place in the country's capital, Monrovia and was attended by several key figures in world politics. The inauguration was attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US First Lady Laura Bush, and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The inauguration was held out doors, as Liberia lacks any proper buildings for the event to have taken place in, including their capitol building which stood nearby. The BBC reports that guests sat on plastic patio chairs, and were shielded from the sun by palm matting.

Johnson-Sirleaf's address said "We know that your vote was a vote for change, a vote for peace, security and we have heard you loudly." She asked for a moment of silence for the thousands who died in Liberia's civil war.

Her victory was formally announced by the Liberian elections commission on 23rd November 2005 following the 2005 election. In the second round of votes, her Unity Party received 59.4% of the vote, versus the 40.6% received for George Weah's Congress for Democratic Change.

Twenty one parties ran candidates in the election, with one independent also running. Voter turnout to the 2005 election was 74.9% in the first round, and 61.0% for the second.