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Key findings
  • Six in 10 Liberians (61%) describe the country as “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems.” However, the same proportion (61%) say they are “not very satisfied” or “not at all satisfied” with the way democracy works in the country, a drastic increase from 38% in 2012.
  • A large majority of Liberians support democracy (70%) and reject alternatives to democratic rule – one-man rule (88%), one-party rule (77%), and military rule (73%).
  • Eight in 10 Liberians (84%) want leaders elected through "regular, open, and honest elections.” But support for multiparty competition is weaker (58%).
  • Six in 10 Liberians (62%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that it’s more important for government to be accountable to its citizens than to get things done quickly.
  • Despite their support for democracy, two-thirds of Liberians say the government should be able to ban any organization that goes against its policies (66%) and should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things it considers harmful to society (67%).

Liberia’s recent presidential and legislative elections were widely considered a success and ushered in the country’s first peaceful democratic transition of power in 73 years. The National Democratic Institute’s election observation mission in Liberia called them “an historic achievement for the country and its citizens,” noting active voter-education campaigns, a strengthening of political parties, and improved transparency allowing citizens to observe various aspects of the electoral process (National Democratic Institute, 2018). The institute also credited former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s 12-year rule with having moved the country toward stability and helped to strengthen institutions necessary to build a culture of democracy in Liberia.

Six months after the widespread excitement surrounding the elections, a national Afrobarometer survey found mixed perceptions of a democracy in evolution – strong support for democracy and elections but growing dissatisfaction with the way democracy is working, along with majority support for government restrictions on the media and on freedom of association.

Taa Wongbe

Taa Wongbe is the CEO of The Khana Group Global.

Marvin Samuel

Marvin Samuel is a research coordinator for The Khana Group in Monrovia, Liberia.