In Africa's first independent country, home to Africa's first single-party state, Africa's first female president is preparing for the country's first democratic transition of power in over 70 years, but is accused of improperly interfering in the first round of voting.
The election, whose first round was held October 10, can be correctly characterized as the first step toward "the first time in recent memory that a democratically elected Liberian president will hand power to a similarly elected head of state," since the last time such a transition happened was back in 1944.
Liberia's history as an independent country began back in 1847, making it the first independent country on the continent. Prior to that it was a colony of the United States, settled by free-born black Americans and freed slaves.
Over the next hundred years, presidential transfers of power occurred on a regular basis, although the True Whig Party dominated politics from 1878-1980, rendering the country a de facto single party state. There were seventeen presidential transitions from 1847-1944, meaning an average of 5-6 years per president (presidential terms were 2 years until 1907). Then came 73 years without electoral transitions: President Tubman served from 1944 until his death in 1971, succeeded by his Vice President, Tolbert, who was overthrown in a bloody coup in 1980 led by Doe, who was assassinated in 1990 at the beginning of the first civil war (1989-1997), which was followed closely by a second civil war (1999-2003).
The second round will be held November 7.