EU Chief Election Observer Highlights Importance of October Election

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The Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) in Liberia, Andreas Schaefer, has underscored that the October 10, 2023 general and presidential elections represent a significant test for the democratic consolidation in Liberia; Mercy M. Kpaingbay reports. 

   Addressing a press conference on Friday, September 15, 2023 at the Royal Hotel, Sinkor, Schaefer said, “I believe it is important for the European Union to accompany the Liberian people in this process. I trust that state authorities, political parties and all candidates will play their part in promoting a credible, peaceful, transparent and inclusive electoral process.”

   The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) was deployed at the invitation of the Liberian authorities and arrived in Monrovia on August 27, 2023 with a team 10 analysts. The mission observes and assess the general election against national law, commitments and obligations for democratic elections deriving from international and regional standards, as well as good practices for democratic election.”

   “We already deployed since last week 20 long-term observers all over Liberia. The Mission observes and analyzes the whole electoral process, including the legal framework, electoral administration, voter and candidates registration, the campaign environment, including in the media and social media, voting, counting and tabulation of the results, as well as the complaints and appeals process,” the Chief Observer said. “We will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process,” he added.

   Andreas Schieder is leading the EU mission as the Chief Observer, and has already met with several stakeholders, including the National Elections Commission (NEC), Minister of Justice, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Associate Justices, candidates in the presidential race as well as the representatives of civil society organizations and the media.

   “After several meetings in Monrovia this week, I can see the state of preparations of the institutions in charge of elections as well as the candidates and political parties. Our long-term observers deployed in all 15 counties already met various stakeholders and are preparing and sending us comprehensive evidence-based reports from their areas of observation,” Schieder observed.

   According to him, around Election Day, additional 40 short-term observers will reinforce the EU EOM that will have around 100 observers on the ground, including members of the European Parliament and EU diplomats accredited in Liberia, from EU Member States, as well as from Canada and Norway. “All EU EOM observers are bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict neutrality and non-interference,” he noted.

   “The EU Mission undertakes its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. It will issue its initial findings in a preliminary statement, which will be presented in a press conference two days after Election Day. A Final Report with recommendations for improvement will be presented at a later stage,” Schieder continued.

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