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.
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.