|President of the|
Republic of Liberia
|Style|| Mr. President |
|Residence||Executive Mansion, Monrovia (currently not in use)|
|Term length||Six years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder|| Joseph Jenkins Roberts |
January 3, 1848
|Formation|| 1847 Constitution of Liberia |
July 26, 1847
|Deputy||Vice President of Liberia|
The president of the Republic of Liberia is head of state and government of Liberia. The president serves as the leader of the executive branch and as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
Prior to the independence of Liberia in 1847, executive power in the Commonwealth of Liberia was held by the governor of Liberia, who was appointed by the American Colonization Society. The 1847 Constitution transferred the executive powers of the governorship to the presidency, which was largely modeled on the presidency of the United States.
Between 1847 and 1980, the presidency was exclusively held by Americo-Liberians, the original American settlers of Liberia and their descendants. The original two-party system, with the Republican Party and the True Whig Party, ended in 1878, when the election of Anthony W. Gardiner marked the beginning of 102 years of one-party rule by the True Whigs. Following a coup d'état by disgruntled army officers led by Samuel Doe in 1980, one-party rule of the True Whigs ended and the presidency was vacated until the election of Doe in the 1985 general election. After his overthrow and murder in 1990, the presidency was again vacated for seven years during the First Liberian Civil War and again for two years following the conclusion of the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
Under the 1986 Constitution, the president is directly elected by eligible voters to a six-year term, which may be renewed once. Overall, 25 individuals have served as president, including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa. On January 22, 2018, George Weah was sworn in as the twenty-fifth and current president of Liberia.
Following the establishment of the Commonwealth of Liberia in 1838, executive power was vested in the governor of Liberia, who was appointed and served at the pleasure of the American Colonization Society. The first governor, Thomas Buchanan, served from 1838 until his death in 1841. He was succeeded by Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the first person of African descent to serve as governor of Liberia.
Upon independence in 1847, Roberts was elected as the first president of Liberia. The 1847 Constitution denied suffrage to the indigenous population by requiring voters to own real estate. As a result, the presidency was exclusively held by Americo-Liberians until 1980, when a military coup led by Samuel Doe, an ethnic Krahn, overthrew and murdered President William Tolbert.
The presidency was vacant from 1980 to 1986, with executive power held by Doe as the head of the People's Redemption Council. Doe was later elected president in the 1985 general election, making him the first president outside of the Americo-Liberian elite. Doe was later overthrown and murdered in 1990 following the commencement First Liberian Civil War, during which the presidency remained vacant.
Following the 1997 general election, Charles Taylor held the presidency until his resignation on August 11, 2003 as part of a peace deal to end the Second Liberian Civil War. His successor, Moses Blah, ceded executive power on October 13 of that year to Gyude Bryant, the chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia. The presidency was resumed on January 16, 2006 following the 2005 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the first female president.
George Weah was elected in 2017 as the 23rd president of Liberia. Incumbent president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed Executive Order No. 91, thus establishing a Joint Presidential Transition Team, due to the fact that Liberia had "not experienced the transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another democratically elected president for over 70 years [...]".
The presidency of Liberia is largely modeled on the presidency of the United States.
The 1986 Constitution gives the president the power to appoint all cabinet ministers, judges, ambassadors, sheriffs, county officials and military officers with the advice and consent of the Senate. Additionally, the president has the power to dismiss all appointees from office at his or her discretion. The president may also grant pardons or revoke sentences and fines. The president conducts all matters of foreign policy, though any treaties or international agreements must be ratified by both houses of the Legislature. Furthermore, the president serves as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The Constitution also grants the president the power to declare a state of emergency during times of war or civil unrest and suspend civil liberties during the emergency as necessary, with the exception of habeas corpus. Within seven days of the declaration, the president must state to the Legislature the reasons for the declaration, which both houses must then approve by a two-thirds majority. Otherwise, the president must repeal the state of emergency.
The president must sign all legislation passed by the House of Representatives and Senate. The president may choose to veto any legislation, which may be overturned by a two-thirds majority in both houses. Additionally, the president may exercise a pocket veto by refusing to sign legislation when the end of the twenty-day deadline for signing the bill falls during a recess of the legislature. The president may extend a legislative session past its adjournment date or call a special extraordinary session when he or she deems it necessary in the national interest. The president must also give an annual report to the legislature on the state of the country.
To be eligible for office under the current Constitution, a presidential candidate must:
Additionally, the president may not be from the same county as the vice president of Liberia.
Under the original 1847 Constitution, the president was elected to a two-year term, which was increased to four years on May 7, 1907.Under this amendment, a new president would serve for eight years and could be re-elected to unlimited four-year terms. During the presidency of William Tolbert, the Constitution was amended to restrict the president to a single eight-year term; by 1976, voices in the legislature were being raised in favor of returning to the previous system, but Tolbert proclaimed his support for the existing system and vowed to veto any constitutional amendments to remove term limits.
Currently, the president is elected by popular vote to a six-year term and is limited to two terms. Under the 1986 Constitution, presidential elections utilize a two-round system, wherein a second round of voting is held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes if no single candidate obtains a majority in the first round. Each term begins and ends at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year immediately following the elections.At the time of their inauguration, each president is required under the Constitution to take a presidential oath promising to preserve and defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the law. The oath is administered by the chief justice of Liberia in front of a joint session of the legislature.
Since 2006, the Executive Mansion has been under renovations due to a fire that damaged parts of the building in July of that year. The office of the president was transferred to the nearby Foreign Ministry building as a result, where it currently hosts President George Weah.
|Term of office||Political party||Elected||Vice President|
|Took office||Left office||Time in office|
|1|| Joseph Jenkins Roberts |
|January 3, 1848||January 7, 1856||8 years, 4 days||Independent||1847||Nathaniel Brander|
|1849||Anthony D. Williams|
|1853||Stephen Allen Benson|
|2|| Stephen Allen Benson |
|January 7, 1856||January 4, 1864||7 years, 362 days||Independent||1855||Beverly Page Yates|
|1859||Daniel Bashiel Warner|
|3|| Daniel Bashiel Warner |
|January 4, 1864||January 6, 1868||4 years, 2 days||Republican Party||1863||James M. Priest|
|4|| James Spriggs Payne |
|January 6, 1868||January 3, 1870||1 year, 362 days||Republican Party||1867||Joseph Gibson|
|5|| Edward James Roye |
|January 3, 1870||October 26, 1871|
|1 year, 296 days||True Whig Party||1869||James Skivring Smith|
|6|| James Skivring Smith |
|October 26, 1871||January 1, 1872||67 days||True Whig Party||Vacant|
(October 26, 1871 – January 1, 1872)
|7|| Joseph Jenkins Roberts |
|January 1, 1872||January 3, 1876|
|4 years, 2 days||Republican Party||1871||Anthony W. Gardiner|
|8|| James Spriggs Payne |
|January 3, 1876||January 7, 1878||2 years, 4 days||Republican Party||1875||Charles Harmon|
|9|| Anthony W. Gardiner |
|January 7, 1878||January 20, 1883|
|5 years, 13 days||True Whig Party||1877||Alfred Francis Russell|
|10|| Alfred Francis Russell |
|January 20, 1883||January 7, 1884||352 days||True Whig Party||Vacant|
(January 20, 1883 – January 7, 1884)
|11|| Hilary R. W. Johnson |
|January 7, 1884||January 4, 1892||7 years, 362 days||True Whig Party||1883||James Thompson|
|12|| Joseph James Cheeseman |
|January 4, 1892||November 12, 1896|
|4 years, 313 days||True Whig Party||1891||William D. Coleman|
|13|| William D. Coleman |
|November 12, 1896||December 11, 1900||4 years, 29 days||True Whig Party||Vacant|
(November 12, 1896 – January 3, 1898)
|1897||Joseph J. Ross|
(October 24, 1899 – January 3, 1902)
|14|| Garretson W. Gibson |
|December 11, 1900||January 4, 1904||3 years, 24 days||True Whig Party|
|1901||Joseph D. Summerville|
|15|| Arthur Barclay |
|January 4, 1904||January 1, 1912||7 years, 362 days||True Whig Party||1903|
(July 27, 1905 – January 1, 1906)
|1905||J. J. Dossen|
|16|| Daniel Edward Howard |
|January 1, 1912||January 5, 1920||8 years, 4 days||True Whig Party||1911||Samuel George Harmon|
|17|| Charles D. B. King |
|January 5, 1920||December 3, 1930|
|10 years, 332 days||True Whig Party||1919||Samuel Alfred Ross|
|1923||Henry Too Wesley|
|18|| Edwin Barclay |
|December 3, 1930||January 3, 1944||13 years, 31 days||True Whig Party||James Skivring Smith, Jr.|
|19|| William Tubman |
|January 3, 1944||July 23, 1971|
|27 years, 201 days||True Whig Party||1943||Clarence Lorenzo Simpson|
|20|| William Tolbert |
|July 23, 1971||April 12, 1980|
( Assassinated )
|8 years, 264 days||True Whig Party||Vacant|
(July 23, 1971 – April 1972)
|James Edward Greene|
(July 22, 1977 – October 31, 1977)
|Bennie Dee Warner|
|—|| Samuel Doe |
|Chairman of the People's Redemption Council |
April 12, 1980 – January 6, 1986
|10 years, 150 days|| Military /|
National Democratic Party
|21||January 6, 1986||September 9, 1990|
|—|| Amos Sawyer |
|President of the Interim Government of National Unity of Liberia|
September 9, 1990 – March 7, 1994
|3 years, 179 days||Liberian People's Party|
|—|| David D. Kpormakpor |
|Chairman of the Council of State of Liberia|
March 7, 1994 – September 1, 1995
|1 year, 178 days||Independent|
|—|| Wilton G. S. Sankawulo |
|Chairman of the Council of State of Liberia|
September 1, 1995 – September 3, 1996
|1 year, 2 days||Independent|
|—|| Ruth Perry |
|Chairman of the Council of State of Liberia|
September 3, 1996 – August 2, 1997
|22|| Charles Taylor |
|August 2, 1997||August 11, 2003|
|6 years, 9 days||National Patriotic Party||1997||Enoch Dogolea|
(June 24, 2000 – July 24, 2000)
|23|| Moses Blah |
|August 11, 2003||October 14, 2003|
|64 days||National Patriotic Party||Vacant|
(August 11, 2003 – October 14, 2003)
|—|| Gyude Bryant |
|Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia|
October 14, 2003 – January 16, 2006
|2 years, 94 days||Liberian Action Party|
|24|| Ellen Johnson Sirleaf |
|January 16, 2006||January 22, 2018||12 years, 6 days||Unity Party||2005||Joseph Boakai|
|25|| George Weah |
|January 22, 2018||Incumbent||3 years, 269 days||Congress for Democratic Change||2017||Jewel Taylor|
history Liberia monrovia.
Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south and southwest. It has a population of around 5 million and covers an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi). English is the official language, but over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, reflecting the country's ethnic and cultural diversity. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.
Liberia is a country in West Africa which was founded by free people of color from the United States. The emigration of African Americans, both free and recently emancipated, was funded and organized by the American Colonization Society (ACS). The mortality rate of these settlers was the highest in accurately recorded human history. Of the 4,571 emigrants who arrived in Liberia between 1820 and 1843, only 1,819 survived.
The Politics of Liberia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic modeled on the government of the United States, whereby the President is the head of state and head of government; unlike the United States, however, Liberia is a unitary state as opposed to a federation and has a pluriform multi-party system rather than the two-party system that characterizes US politics. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the legislature.
Samuel Kanyon Doe was a Liberian politician who served as the Liberian leader from 1980 to 1990, first as a military leader and later as a civilian. While a master sergeant in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Doe staged a violent coup d'etat in April 1980 that left him de facto head of state. During the coup, then president William Tolbert, and much of the True Whig Party leadership were executed. Doe then established the People's Redemption Council, assuming the rank of general.
William Richard Tolbert Jr. was the 20th President of Liberia, a position he held from 1971 until 1980, when he was killed in a coup d'état led by Samuel Doe.
The True Whig Party (TWP), also known as the Liberian Whig Party (LWP), is the oldest political party in Liberia and one of the oldest parties in Africa and the world. Founded in 1869 by primarily darker-skinned Americo-Liberians in rural areas, its historic rival was the Republican Party. Following the decline of the latter, it dominated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980. The nation was virtually governed as a one-party state under the TWP, although opposition parties were never outlawed.
The People's Redemption Council (PRC) was a governmental body that ruled Liberia during the early 1980s. It was established after the 1980 Liberian coup d'état wherein Samuel Doe seized power on 12 April 1980. The Council, with Doe as its chairman, promised a complete overhaul of Liberia's society, economy, and political system and the replacement of the corruption of previous regimes with respect for the rights of the Liberian people. The PRC had 17 founding members and was later expanded to 28. The PRC initially functioned as the executive and legislative body in Doe's government. However, over time Doe consolidated power as a central executive. In 1984, the PRC was dissolved and replaced by the Interim National Assembly.
The Unity Party (UP) is a political party in Liberia that was started in 1984 by Edward B. Kesselly, also its first standard bearer. Officially founded at Buchanan in Grand Bassa County, the party was established on 27 July 1985. The Unity Party participated in the first elections after the 1980 coup, running against President Samuel Doe in October 1985. The party has remained active in Liberian politics since and was, until 2017, the ruling party.
General elections were held in Liberia on 19 July 1997 as part of the 1996 peace agreement ending the First Liberian Civil War. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate were up for election. Voter turnout was around 89%. Former rebel leader Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Party (NPP) won the election with 75.3% of the vote, giving it about three-quarters of the legislative seats according to the proportional representation system. Taylor was inaugurated as president on 2 August 1997.
General elections were held in Liberia on 15 October 1985. They were the first elections since the 12 April 1980 military coup that brought Samuel Doe to power. During 1984, a new draft constitutional was approved in a referendum, which provided for a 58-member civilian and military Interim National Assembly, headed by Doe as president. After a ban on political parties was lifted, four parties – Doe's National Democratic Party (NDP), the Liberian Action Party, the Unity Party and the Liberia Unification Party – contested the elections.
Sekou Damate Conneh, Jr. is a Liberian politician and former rebel leader.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician who served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa.
Gabriel Bacchus Matthews was a Liberian politician. He is considered one of the leaders in developing a multi-party system in Liberia, long dominated by the True Whig Party. He founded the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) in 1975, the first active opposition party since the demise of the Republican Party.
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislative branch of Liberia, and together with the House of Representatives comprises the Legislature of Liberia. Each of the fifteen counties are equally represented by two senators, elected to serve staggered nine-year terms. The Senate meets at the Capitol Building in Monrovia.
The vice president of the Republic of Liberia is the second-highest executive official in Liberia, and one of only two elected executive offices along with the president. The vice president is elected on the same ticket with the president to a six-year term. In the event of the death, resignation or removal of the president, the vice president ascends to the presidency, which he or she holds for the remainder of their predecessor's term. The vice president also serves as the president of the Senate and may cast a vote in the event of a tie. The current vice president is Jewel Taylor, serving under president George Weah. She began her term on January 22, 2018.
The Constitution of Liberia is the supreme law of the Republic of Liberia. The current constitution, which came into force on 6 January 1986, replaced the Liberian Constitution of 1847, which had been in force since the independence of Liberia. Much like the 1847 Constitution, the Constitution creates a system of government heavily modeled on the Federal Government of the United States.
The 2011 Liberian general election was held on 11 October 2011, with a presidential runoff election held on 8 November 2011. The presidency, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives and half of the seats in the Senate, were up for election. The election was overseen by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
General elections were held in Liberia on 1 May 1951, the first to be held under universal suffrage; previously only male descendants of Americo-Liberians had been allowed to vote. This was the first elections in Liberia where women and the local Liberians owning property were allowed to vote based on a Constitutional Referendum in 1945–46. In the presidential election, William Tubman of the True Whig Party was the only candidate, and was re-elected unopposed.
General elections were held in Liberia on 7 October 1975, alongside a simultaneous referendum on presidential term limits. In the presidential election, incumbent William Tolbert of the True Whig Party was the only candidate, and was re-elected unopposed. In the legislative elections True Whig Party candidates won all 74 seats in the House of Representatives unopposed. Voter turnout was around 80%.
The 1980 Liberian coup d'état happened on April 12, 1980, when President William Tolbert was overthrown and murdered in a violent coup. The coup was staged by an indigenous Liberian faction of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) under the command of Master Sergeant Samuel Doe. Following a period of transition, Doe ruled Liberia throughout the 1980s until his murder in 1990 during the First Liberian Civil War.