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Vol 46 No 19

Published 23rd September 2005


Liberia

The soccer vote

After 14 years of war, Liberians mistake a footballer for a politician

The international football star George Manneh Opong Weah leads the pack of 22 presidential hopefuls, in the last weeks of campaigning for the national elections due on 11 October. If he gets over half of the votes in the first round, his team wins; if he falls short, his rivals include plenty of old political hands, ready to do deals and make the passes that put the ball in the goal. Three spectres haunt the polls: a return to war by dissatisfied losers; more of the state looting and corruption that has defined Liberian politics for the past 50 years; and meddling by ousted President Charles Taylor from Nigeria, where he was exiled under the 2003 peace deal that also set the electoral timetable.

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