Liberia's 'Iron Lady' claims victory

Nov. 11, 2005 at 12:41 PM
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MONROVIA, Liberia, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Supporters of Liberian presidential candidate George Weah rallied in the capital of Monrovia Friday after Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf claimed election victory.

Johnson-Sirleaf, dubbed the "Iron Lady," would be the first woman president of Liberia -- or anywhere in Africa, for that matter.

With 97 percent of the ballots counted, she had won 59.4 percent of the vote to 40.5 percent for Weah, an international soccer star.

Weah's backers marched to the headquarters of the National Elections Commission charging the election was rigged.

The Harvard-educated Johnson-Sirleaf told the BBC she hoped Weah would join her new government after "getting over his disappointment." Observers described the vote as "peaceful and transparent".

A force of 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers stepped up patrols in Liberia to keep order.

Johnson-Sirleaf said she hoped her election would "raise the participation of women not just in Liberia but also in Africa."

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