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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expelled from ruling party

Liberia’s ruling party has expelled Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The party has claimed that she meddled in the 2017 elections and failed to support vice president Boakai in his presidential bid.

After 12 years in power, outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf might have preferred a more positive send-off. She and four other party members were expelled from their party on Sunday. According to Unity Party leaders, Sirleaf held meetings with election officials before the presidential election on October 10, 2017.

Liberia’s vice president and Unity Party candidate, Joseph Boakai, lost the presidential race to former football star George Weah in a run-off election, after Boakai appealed the October vote, claiming widespread fraud.

“The behavior of the expelled persons … constitutes sabotage and undermined the existence of the party,” a statement from the party said. The statement added that Sirleaf had violated party rules, by meddling in the elections and failing to support the party’s presidential candidate.

During the campaigns, it was speculated that Sirleaf did not support her deputy Boakai’s bid for the presidency after she failed to appear at his side during key campaign events. The party’s assistant press secretary, Mohammed Ali, alleged that Sirleaf had ordered people to instead campaign for Weah.

Sirleaf became Liberia’s first post-war president in 2006. She has been credited with stabilizing the country after the civil war and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her efforts. Towards the end of her presidency, however, she was increasingly criticized for allegedly shielding her family from being investigated on allegations of corruption. The lack of development, particularly in terms of infrastructure and roads also earned harsh criticism from the opposition.

Incoming President-elect Weah is expected to be inaugurated in late January.

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