19 Oct 2011

Backing of ex-rebel obtained by president

3:07 pm on 19 October 2011

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who is contesting a second round of elections in November, has received the backing of an influential former rebel leader.

Mrs Sirleaf, who is one of this year's Nobel Peace laureates, and her rival, former UN diplomat Winston Tubman, had both been courting his support.

But Prince Johnson says he cannot back Mr Tubman because he does not represent reconciliation.

Mrs Sirleaf says the people of Liberia have to put the past behind them in order to improve the country.

Mr Johnson said the price for his support would be a share of power and jobs for his former fighters.

After the war, he became a born-again Christian pastor and was elected to the Senate in 2005.

A run-off-election is to be held, provisionally on 8 Noember. This is Liberia's second election since a civil war ended in 2003 after 14 years.