It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Ivory Coast to its east. It covers an area of 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi) and has a population of 4,503,000 people. English is the official language and over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous tribes who make up more than 95% of the population. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.

Political Profile/Structure/System

Liberia is a unitary sovereign state divided into counties for administrative purposes. The form of government is Republican with three separate coordinate branches: the Legislative, the Executive and Judiciary. Consistent with the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, no person holding office in one of these branches shall hold office in or exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches except as otherwise provided in this Constitution; and no person holding office in one of the said branches shall serve on any autonomous public agency.

Elections and Political Parties

Elections in Liberia occur solely at the national level. The head of state, the President of Liberia, is elected to a six-year term in a two-round system, in which a run-off between the two candidates with the highest number of votes is held should no single candidate earn a majority of the vote in the first round. The Legislature has two elected chambers. The House of Representatives has 73 members, elected to six-year terms by the first-past-the-post method in single-member districts. The Senate has 30 members, 2 from each county, elected at-large to nine-year terms by the first-past-the-post method. Senatorial elections are staggered, with one senator from each county being elected in elections held three years apart, followed by a six-year period in which no senatorial elections are held. All citizens who are 18 years or older may register to vote in elections. Under Article 83(a) of the Constitution, elections are held on the second Tuesday of October every election year, with presidential run-off elections being held on the second Tuesday following the announcement of the results of the first round. Elections are regulated by the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC). Political parties: Unity Party Congress for Democratic Change Liberty Party National Patriotic Party Alliance for Peace and Democracy New Deal Movement All Liberia Coalition Party

By The Numbers

Women in parliament Only 22.8 per cent of all national parliamentarians were women as of June 2016, a slow increase from 11.3 per cent in 1995. As of January 2017, 10 women are serving as Head of State and 9 are serving as Head of Government. Elections Single house Seats: 73; women: 9; % women: 12.3% Upper house Seats: 30; women: 3; % women: 10.0% Education 63% of Liberian girls between the ages of 15 and 24 are illiterate. An astounding 63% of primary-aged girls are out of school, and even when girls graduate, they do so only half as literate as their male counterparts. .


Participation and Inclusion

Local efforts in Liberia, including civic education, have not led to gender equality in national governance. Liberia ranks 90th in the world in female representation in parliament, with only 13.5 percent of women making up the National Legislature of Liberia. Based on international best practices, what strategies might help improve women’s political participation in Liberia? IFES Humphrey Fellow Samuel Cole draws on the experiences of Rwanda, India and South Africa to suggest legal reforms and civic advocacy efforts to encourage greater women's political participation in Liberia. Cole is the director of civic and voter education for the National Elections Commission of Liberia.