EISA-IEOM Lauds Liberians For Peaceful Run-Off Election
The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa International Election Observation Mission (EISA-IEOM) has praised Liberians for peacefully conducting themselves during the November 14 run-off election.
According to the organization, there was general calm and peaceful environment, with no election-related incidents.
“Opening procedures were largely observed at polling precincts observed, highlighting timely openings, the full complement of staff, and ease of access for authorized persons. The secrecy of the vote was maintained through well-arranged polling booths. Polling staff, security agents and election monitors demonstrated professionalism and knowledge of their roles, contributing to a smoothly conducted election day,” the organization observed.
However, the Mission noted inconsistencies in the application of ink to indicate that a voter had cast their ballot, which is a regulation of the National Election Commission’s (NEC).
According to NEC, the voter’s index finger should be marked before casting the ballot. However, EISA-IEOM’s observers revealed that, in 61.6% of the polling places voters were inked before casting the ballot. In 38.4% of the observed polling places, voters were inked after casting the ballot.
“This inconsistency raised concerns about adherence to prescribed procedures. An incident was reported at Don Bosco Youth Center in Montserrado where voting was briefly halted because a voter refused to be inked after casting her ballot,” the mission observed. “Tension arose due to the positioning of party agents close to Voter Identification Officers (VIOs). Some agents duplicated VIO efforts, directly collecting voters’ cards for parallel checks.”
Due to some fault, a formal complaint was filed in Grand Gedeh County’s district #1, demanding VIOs to read names and numbers aloud. Observers in Nimba, Margibi, Grand Gedeh and River Gee reported instances of voter trucking. Transported voters would either be singing or shouting the number of their preferred candidate (either 1 or 2) to demonstrate their support.
In accordance with Article 2(3) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), the October 10, 2023 elections presented an opportunity for the second peaceful legitimization of representative government and democratic transition of power. On October 24, 2023, the NEC successfully tallied and announced 100.0% of the total votes cast, stating that 5.89% were invalid.
The incumbent, President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) received 804,087 votes, constituting 43.83%, and the Standard Bearer of Unity Party (UP), Joseph Boakai, received 796,961 votes, constituting 43.44%.
Due to the absence of an absolute majority among the presidential candidates in the presidential poll as mandated by election legislation, a run-off was scheduled for November 14, 2023.
The mission, which is headed by Zambia’s former Vice President, encouraged NEC to involve or empower the disabled community to provide education for voters during electoral process.
The mission said it will remain in Liberia until next year May. It praised all Liberians for the process, despite little friction that started in some areas.