28 November 2011

Liberia: National Elections Commission Certificates President Sirleaf and VP Boakai

The National Elections Commission (NEC) on Monday, November 28, certificated President-elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President-elect, Honorable Joseph N. Boakai as winners of the November 8 run-off Presidential Election. At a ceremony held at the Commission's headquarters, Senators-elect and Representatives-elect of the October 11 Legislative Elections were also certificated.

Speaking at the occasion, President-elect Johnson Sirleaf said she was accepting the certification "as President of all of our people, with an obligation to respond to the concerns of all Liberians, in an inclusive government that reaches out to all those who have felt marginalized, most especially our unemployed youth."

Addressing the nation's youths directly, the President said: "I want to say to you that we have put in place all the fundamentals to address your needs: we have mobilized the resources for investment; we have put in the laws, and built the institutions. It took longer than we wanted, but now we feel that you will see, and feel, the difference. The benefits that may have escaped you in the last six years will now become a material fact. The jobs are coming. You now need to join us in training you to be able to take advantage of them."

The President thanked the Liberian people for the confidence vested in her leadership, and assured all citizens that she will live up to their expectations. She described her re-election as "an humbling honor," acknowledging that "it places a responsibility on us to work even harder to finish what we could not finish in our first term. It is a welcome responsibility, and makes us more focused and strengthens our commitment and our resolve to get the job done."

The President urged all Liberians, irrespective of political affiliation or grouping, to join in moving Liberia forward with renewed vigor and hope. "There is so much work ahead. We cannot build a better Liberia by ourselves. We need the support, the constructive criticism and engagement of all Liberians so that we stay on track," the President-elect reminded citizens.

An Executive Mansion release says the President congratulated members of the incoming Legislature on their victory - those re-elected to office, as well as the first-time legislators. The Liberian leader called on lawmakers to demonstrate the same spirit of cooperation that has existed between the Executive and the Legislative Branches, "as we join forces in bringing peace and prosperity to our nation and people . Our people have elected us, in the expectation that we will work together and put their interests first, to improve their lives and livelihoods. We cannot fail them," she asserted.

The President commended the National Elections Commission - its Commissioners and other officers and members - for the conduct of an electoral process witnessed by local, regional and international observers. "All spoke with one voice in declaring our elections to be peaceful, free, fair and transparent, notwithstanding the distractions," the President recalled.

Liberia's international partners, domestic and international, were also praised for their dedication and commitment to democracy in Liberia. The Chief Executive pledged to continue on the path of democracy to earn their trust and confidence in the people of Liberia.

Speaking earlier, the Acting Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Elizabeth Nelson, spoke of the need to start planning for future elections, including Local, Special and possible By-elections. Madam Nelson spoke of capacity building for the Commission, with emphasis on human capacity being paramount to the plan. Commissioner Nelson said the NEC would rely on its partners who understand the intricacies of elections management and the Government of Liberia to assist in providing the needed support to satisfy the training needs of the Commission.

Monday's ceremony was witnessed by Government and party officials, members of the National Legislature, representatives of the international community, former Transitional Chairman Gyude Bryant, former NEC Chairman James Fromayan, as well as other former officials of the Commission, including Mother Mary Brownell, Mrs. Della King-Reeves, and Mr. Frances Johnson Allison.

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