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From ‘Warlord’ to ‘Democratic’ President: how Charles Taylor won the 1997 Liberian elections

Harris, David (1999) 'From ‘Warlord’ to ‘Democratic’ President: how Charles Taylor won the 1997 Liberian elections.' Journal of Modern African Studies, 37 (3). pp. 431-455.

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Abstract

For the best part of seven years, an increasing number of warring factions fought a vicious civil war for control of the West African state of Liberia. In August 1996, the fourteenth peace accord led to presidential and parliamentary elections in July of the following year. Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Party (NPP), formed out of the original invasion force, emerged victorious with a landslide 75 per cent of the vote. Given the international reputation of Taylor as a brutal warlord whose sole aim had never wavered from the capture of power in Monrovia, Taylor's across-the-board victory appears difficult to explain. Having concluded that, despite problems and allegations, the election did seem more free and fair than not, the article examines the factors that probably influenced the electorate's choices. The results of this research show an election heavily dependent on an uncertain security situation. However, it suggests that, although a former ‘warlord’ has been rewarded, the voting was a reasoned ploy by the electorate to maximise the possibility of improved living conditions.

Item Type: Articles
Additional Information: © 1999 Cambridge University Press
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 0022278X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1017/S0022278X99003109
Depositing User: Dave Harris
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2009 14:56
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6258

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