Liberia. During its provisional regime, added at the end of the civil war in 2003, Liberia began to return to normal contact with the outside world. At the UN summit in New York in September, Acting President Gyude Bryant signed 103 international agreements, ranging from trade rules and human rights issues to the fight against corruption and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Several of the agreements had been waiting for decades on Liberia’s accession.
However, the corruption was reported to be even more widespread during the transition regime than during the previous, notorious warlord regimes. The extravagant lifestyle of ministers and parliamentarians cost the Treasury large sums. According to countryaah, Monrovia is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Liberia. A quarter of the state budget went to the ministers’ trips abroad. In part, the waste was explained by the fact that this was the price one had to pay to get the militias to put down their weapons and start working politically, but greed also dragged civilian politicians out of the established parties. As a result of the looting of the Treasury, the West African Economic Cooperation Organization ECOWAS, in consultation with Western aid donors, decided to put Liberia under financial patronage at least until 2008. During this time, the country may not enter into financial agreements without the approval of foreign expertise.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym LR stands for the country of Liberia and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
According to the 2003 peace agreement, general elections were held under UN supervision in October-November. The presidential election was a battle between the experienced economist and former Finance Minister Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former football star George Weah. The popular Weah aroused strong enthusiasm among young voters and the poor and won clearly in the first round. In the decisive second round, however, a large majority joined Johnson Sirleaf, who with close to 60% of the vote became Africa’s first elected female head of state.
In the parliamentary elections, Weah’s party Congress for Democratic Change was the largest, but the House of Representatives was filled by so many parties with approximately the same mandate, plus a number of independent members, that it was difficult to assess which constellation of majority that could arise.
Political order. – The Republic of Liberia has a constitution similar to that of the United States. Legislative power is exercised by a Congress made up of two chambers: the Senate, made up of ten members elected for six years; the House of Representatives, made up of 22 members elected for 4 years. Executive power rests with a president elected for 4 years. Negro owners are voters, “citizens” at 25 years of age are eligible. According to the constitution, only blacks can become citizens of the republic. The territory is divided into 9 counties, administered by inspectors, divided into districts administered by commissioners. The territory of Monrovia is a federal district.
The capital of the republic of Liberia is Monrovia (6000 residents). Other notable centers, county towns, ports, markets, are Robertsport, Marschall, Grand Bassa, River Cess, Linoe Grand Sesters, Haper, all small, modern Anglo-Saxon colonial-type towns, founded on headlands or better accessible mouths of rivers., in the first half of the last century. The origins and the constitution of the Liberian state must not mislead or deceive about the true political and civil conditions of the republic. Freedom and democracy are here two words that do not correspond to anything real in the practical life of the country. The only masters of the republic are in fact the 20,000 “citizens”; the natives are considered and treated as an inferior race; citizenship is not granted to whites for any reason; slavery is abolished in name only, as the planters pay the indigenous chiefs a certain sum for the Negroes whom they employ in the concessions. In fact, the government and the citizens little or no concern themselves with hygiene, education, works and works of public utility. The economic life of the country is entirely in the hands of foreigners, more especially Americans and British.
The revenues of the Republic of Liberia, largely constituted by customs duties, are consistently lower than the expenses: in the fiscal year 1930-31 the revenues amounted to 482,029 US dollars against 1,000,665 dollars of expenses. Following agreements with the Finance Corporation of America in 1927, Liberia’s finances were placed under the control of American officials and a loan (underwritten for over $ 2 million) was launched on the American market to pay off the previous loan contracted in 1912 mainly with Great Britain.
The main coins used are the English ones; commercial accounts are generally drawn up in English currency; the balance sheets and other official accounts are instead in US dollars and the Liberian currencies are related to the dollar. In 1930 the Bank of British West Africa was withdrawn from Liberia and the Firestone Plantations Company established a new bank in Monrovia: United States Trading Company (Banking Department).
As a result of their origin, the Americo-Liberians are Christians: Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopals, Episcopal Protestants (Anglicans). These last two sects have a bishop. The Catholic Church has established the apostolic prefecture of Liberia since 1903, with residence in Monrovia. While Christians number around 40,000, there are around 300,000 Muslims.