- elections - Liberia - Nobel Prize
Ex-warlord backs Sirleaf in Liberian presidential race
Ex-warlord and defeated candidate Prince Johnson told his supporters on Monday to back Nobel Peace Prize winning presidential candidate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her November run-off with challenger Winston Tubman for Liberia's presidency.
REUTERS - Former rebel leader Prince Johnson, placed third in the first round of Liberia's presidential election, said on Tuesday he would back President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the Nov. 8 runoff against Winston Tubman of the opposition CDC party.
"I will support Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the run-off election," Johnson told Reuters by telephone.
"This is because some of her policies are good for this country. If all her policies are not good, we will do addition and subtraction so that what we want to see in it, will be reflected," Johnson said.
Results announced on Sunday showed newly named Nobel Peace laureate Johnson-Sirleaf scored 44 percent of the vote, ahead of Tubman, who received 32.2 percent, with 96 percent of votes counted.
Observers have praised the peaceful manner in which Liberia's second post-war ballot was carried out. The vote is seen as a test of progress towards stability and the country's readiness for investment in untapped mineral and agricultural resources.
Johnson, who was filmed watching his fighters torture former President Samuel Doe during Liberia's civil war, is now a senator in Liberia's northern, minerals-rich Nimba County, the second most populous in the West African state.
Analysts have said that Johnson, a former member of Sirleaf's ruling UP party, was most likely to side with the incumbent because her international profile could help him to consolidate a legacy as a revolutionary-turned-politician.
Sirleaf, a former World Bank economist, has earned international plaudits for maintaining stability and reducing debt in Liberia since becoming Africa's first freely elected female head of state in 2005.
"If you have two evils, I will prefer to go with the lesser evil. In this case, the lesser evil is the incumbent," Johnson said.
"I think I am prepared to support a person who has six years to be in power, rather than to go with a person who will go for twelve years," he said.