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Liberian Ambassador to UN to Run for Presidency in October Vote

Nathaniel Barnes, Liberia’s ambassador to the United Nations, said he plans to compete against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in October’s election.

Barnes, who served as finance minister from 1999 to 2002, said he will declare his candidacy on behalf of the Liberia Destiny Party within about two weeks.

In October 2005, Liberia held elections following a civil war that ended two years earlier. Johnson-Sirleaf was elected as Africa’s first female president. The country’s economy was devastated by the conflict that killed 250,000 people.

“The government has done a good job in transitioning us,” Barnes said in an interview from the U.S. yesterday. “We need to move forward to growth and development and that requires a different skill set.”

Barnes won 1 percent of the vote in the 2005 elections. George Weah, a former world soccer player of the year, was beaten by Sirleaf in a runoff. Weah said in July that he will take part in next year’s election.

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