An Election Follow up mission from the European Union was deployed to Liberia on 23 April and headed by Maria Arena, Member of the European Parliament and former Chief Observer for the EU at the 2017 Liberian elections. The main objectives of this mission are to assess the degree to which the EU recommendations for improving the Liberian election framework from 2017 have been implemented in the meantime, as well as to discuss ways to achieve further progress on electoral reform. The recommendations were based on an impartial assessment of all aspects of the electoral process and guided by regional and international standards for elections. The Follow-up Mission met with the President and Vice President of Liberia, the National Elections Commission, the leadership of Senate and House of Representatives, several ministries, chief Justice, political parties, civil society organizations, media and the international community.
Amongst priority recommendations, EU election observers recommended affirmative action for women participation in elections, including implementing capacity building for prospective female candidates and measures for better integration of women in political parties throughout the electoral cycle. "I remain hopeful that the Liberian authorities will engage with stakeholders on improving the electoral framework before the 2023 elections and, among other, introduce measures to increase participation of female candidates to elections and support the 30 per cent female mandatory quota for political party candidates, as proposed by the National Elections Commission" -said Ms. Arena.
Ms. Arena recalled that "The EU electoral recommendations are a sign of EU willingness to support democratic elections in Liberia via the improvement of the electoral framework. They should be seen as an indication for possible electoral reform prior to the next elections".
Even if progress in the implementation of EU EOM recommendations has been limited, certain electoral reforms are being discussed and should be further acted upon. These relate to campaign environment, political finance and electoral dispute resolution mechanism. "We urge all electoral stakeholders to engage in good faith in consultations to build a greater level of public confidence in time for the 2023 election. The European Union will continue to support Liberia in this process." - said Ms. Arena.
A comprehensive final report of the EU Follow-up Mission will be published in the next couple of months and will be used to inform the EU' support for Liberia's democratic institutions.