“Organizational Improvement In Election Process”; EU Observer Mission Praises NEC
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Liberia has made its observation about the November 14, 2023 presidential run-off election, noting that the election day was calm, with organizational improvements of the process since the first round.
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, highlighted, “Election Day was calm and we noticed organizational improvements of the process since the first round. On 14th November, Liberians voted in the run-off to elect their President for the next six years. The National Elections Commission (NEC) demonstrated its capacity to conduct the first fully Liberian-owned elections since the departure of UNMIL.”
Domanski underlined that their 85 election observers reported from 326 polling places in rural and urban areas in all 15 counties and 63 out of 73 districts.
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. As in the first round it was personality-driven campaign with a notable lack of issue-based activities or debates.
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, while political freedom of candidates and supporters were largely respected.
“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,” said the Head of delegation of the European Union parliament, Leopoldo Lopez Gil.
“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 noted.
The EU EOM said it will present a final report with recommendations to the Liberian authorities and public opinion at a later stage.
The EU EOM was invited by the Liberian authorities 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. A delegation of the European Parliament, headed by Leopoldo Lopez Gil, MEP, also joined the mission.