Editorial: EU Applauds Election As Free, Transparent And Peaceful
THE DEMOCRACY EFFORT coming out of the 2003 Comprehensive Accra Peace Accord is only as good as its capacity to meet international standards and best practices, as required by international partners. Thankfully, international endorsement of the October 10, 2023 general and presidential elections and the November 14, 2023 run-off has begun. The EU EOM was invited by the Liberian government to observe the 2023 general and presidential elections and has been present in Liberia since August 27. In total, the EU EOM deployed 85 observers from all 27 EU member states, Canada and Norway, across the country to assess the whole electoral process against international obligations and commitments for democratic elections as well as the laws of Liberia. Their 85 election observers reported from 326 polling places in rural and urban areas in all 15 counties and 63 out of 73 districts. A delegation of the European Parliament, headed by Leopoldo Lopez Gil, MEP, also joined the mission.
IN A PRESS conference held in Monrovia on Thursday, November 16, 2023 to present the second preliminary statement of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), the Deputy Chief Observer, Jarek Domanski, observed that “election day was calm and we noticed organizational improvements of the process since the first round…The National Elections Commission (NEC) demonstrated its capacity to conduct the first fully Liberian-owned elections since the departure of UNMIL.”
ACCORDING TO THE EU EOM Deputy Chief Observer, EU EOM observers assessed the conduct of the voting process in observed polling stations as very good and procedural irregularities were reduced in the run-off.
DOMANSKI ASSERTED THAT the 20-day run-off campaign was largely peaceful and quiet as both candidates focused mostly on announcing endorsements from first-round unsuccessful presidential and legislative candidates.
DOMANSKI POINTED OUT that the freedom of press and of opinion continued to be respected during the run-off election campaign period, but state-owned media continued to offer most of their news to the incumbent.
IN FURTHERANCE, DOMANSKI said closer to the run-off date, derogatory speech, inflammatory language and misleading content intensified in social media, but political freedom of candidates and supporters were largely respected.
THE HEAD OF delegation of the European Union parliament, Leopoldo Lopez Gil, sounded this caution to Liberians in regard to the peace of the nation after the election and the run-off: “I appeal to both candidates and their supporters to show restraint and wait patiently for the announcement of the results, and should anyone wish to dispute they should do them peacefully and accordingly to the established legal procedures.”
“A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER of citizens and international observers continue their activities in between the rounds and on run-off election day, contributing to the transparency of the process. The EU EOM values the contribution from all stakeholders involved in the election process,” the Deputy Chief Observer stated.