Liberia: election observers applaud peaceful conduct

A voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Monrovia. 14/10/2023.   -  
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RAMI BALAGHI/AFP or licensors

Observers from the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday congratulated Liberia on the "largely" peaceful conduct of the second round of the presidential election.

The two candidates are neck and neck, with opposition candidate Joseph Boakai leading with 50.58% of the vote against 49.42% for incumbent president and former football star George Weah.

5,107 polling stations out of a total of 5,890 (86.61% of polling stations) have been counted so far, according to Davidetta Browne Lansanah, chairwoman of the electoral commission (NEC). She did not specify what proportion of the total number of voters these polling stations represented. Just over 1.4 million votes are being counted, compared with the 2.4 million Liberians who were expected to vote on Tuesday. According to the EU mission, the NEC has demonstrated its ability to peacefully conduct the first elections to be held without the presence of the United Nations mission in Liberia (2003-2018), which was set up to guarantee peace after the civil wars that claimed more than 250,000 lives between 1989 and 2003 and whose memory is still vivid. "Election day was peaceful and we have seen improvements in the organisation of the [electoral] process since the first round," Jarek Domański, Deputy Chief Observer of the EU observation mission, told a press conference.

ECOWAS also congratulated all stakeholders on the "largely" peaceful elections, although it noted isolated incidents in the provinces of Lofa, Nimba, Bong and Montserrado, which resulted in "injuries and hospitalisation".

While the political freedoms of candidates and their supporters were largely respected, the use of State resources by the ruling party continued to distort the rules of the game, the EU mission found. It also condemned inflammatory comments made on social networks, which increased in the run-up to the second round.

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