, MONROVIA, Jan 16 – Liberia’s main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change, has recognised Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president after disputed polls, its leader announced on Sunday.
“We recognize that Madam Sirleaf is the president of Liberia,” CDC leader Winston Tubman said a day before her inauguration and after talks with the president late on Saturday.
“Since the elections, we have been holding negotiations with the government on how to resolve the disagreement … and having had fruitful discussions, we feel confident that the CDC will be incorporated in the government,” he added.
The CDC was therefore calling off a protest march it had planned for Monday and party officials would attend the investiture ceremony, said Tubman.
“We believe that the country has to move forward and peace and reconciliation have to prevail,” he added.
Tubman’s CDC had refused to accept Sirleaf’s win and his party had pulled out of the November 8 presidential run-off claiming fraud.
Sirleaf eventually won 90.7 percent of votes in the run-off while Tubman picked up 9.3 percent despite his boycott.
The political stand-off had developed into a political crisis that observers feared threatened the country’s fragile democracy eight years after the end of a 14-year conflict that killed 250,000.
Wilmot Paye, the secretary-general of Sirleaf’s ruling Unity Party, told AFP that the CDC could not oppose the people’s will and had had no choice but to cooperate with the elected government.
In a brief statement on state television after talks with the CDC, Sirleaf praised the opposition leaders for their constructive engagement.
Sirleaf, who won a joint Nobel Peace Prize last year for her work in women’s rights, became the first democratically elected female president in Africa in 2005.
Thirty heads of state and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are expected to attend Monday’s ceremony.
Security has been tightened across the capital, with several check points set up along the highway leading to the country’s main Roberts International Airport, as UN military helicopters hover overhead.