Nobel Peace Prize for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf: Is it a bad timing?

The Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf fights for staying in the office. The elections will take place next week.

Questions:

1. Would you the announcement will somehow influence the upcoming elections in Liberia?

2. In general, what do think about the decision of the Nobel Committee? Right, wrong?

Answers,

Gilles Yabi, Project Director, West Africa, International Crisis Group

1. The attribution of the Nobel Prize to President Johnson Sirleaf four days before the presidential election is going to be the talk of the town in Liberia and will be surely interpreted by the rivals of the president as a clear international support to her. I am not sure that it will affect the individual decisions of the ordinary voters but it is still unfortunate that such a decision is made by an international body right before an election.

2. The Committee decided to give the Nobel Prize this year to women who fought for women rights and promotion of women in the decision-making processes. That is salutary. President Johnson Sirleaf as the first elected female president in Africa is a symbol for the women’s fight for political participation and she appointed women at senior positions in her government in the last six years.The problem of this prize is the timing. May be they could have waited for next year to give a prize to Johnson Sirleaf, just not to be seen as influencing the democratic choice of the Liberian electorate.

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