The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Chief Observer to Liberia, Maria Arena, describes the run-off presidential election of Tuesday, 26 December a milestone achievement for Liberian democracy.
"An undeniable aspect of this significant election is the collective effort that underpinned its realisation. Voters, Civil Society, Liberian institutions, in particular the NEC, the judiciary and the Liberian National Police, the domestic observers and ECOWAS all contributed to make this important step for Liberia's democracy possible", Chief Observer Arena notes.
Tuesday's runoff poll was held between incumbent Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Senator George Weah. Weah received 38.4 percent of total votes cast in the first round of poll conducted on October 10, 2017 followed by Boakai's 28.8 percent, the two highest votes which qualified them for the runoff from among a total of 20 presidential candidates who contested in round one of polling.
The EU EOM says Election Day was calm, credited to organisational improvements made by the National Elections Commission (NEC), saying, "Our 74 election observers reported from over 239 observations in rural and urban areas in all counties." It says additional deployment of queue controllers and their training had a positive impact on election procedures in and outside the polling places, facilitating the exercise of the right to vote.
"The EU Election Observation Mission welcomes above all, the resilience of Liberian voters. They have shown, through their patience an unwavering commitment to democratic principles. They turned up on Election Day in large numbers and exercised their right to vote peacefully. The EU EOM values the contribution from all stakeholders to the election process. Their engagement with the Mission has made our work possible", Chief Observer Arena says.
The EU EOM reports that despite a longer period than expected between the two rounds of the Presidential election, Liberian citizens, institutions and political parties forged a path to the fulfillment of their democratic rights and responsibilities.
The EU Election Observation Mission has been following the election process since 1 September, observing all its aspects and engaging with different stakeholders: political parties, national authorities, media, civil society and others.
It has also followed the complaints and appeals process and, throughout, maintained a presence at key hearings at the NEC and the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the EU EOM will, following conclusion of the election process, present its findings and recommendations in a final report, which will be published and presented to the Liberian authorities and public.