International observers praise Liberia on peaceful voteThu, 12 Oct 2023 18:03:09 GMT

Observers from the African Union, the West African regional bloc ECOWAS and the European Union on Thursday congratulated Liberia for holding peaceful presidential and legislative elections two days earlier.”The election day was calm and well conducted by the National Elections Commission and their staff nationwide”, Andreas Schieder, the EU observation mission’s chief observer, said in a statement.ECOWAS and the AU congratulated the government and the election commission for the organisation of peaceful elections, marked by enthusiasm and a high participation rate.The vote was the first to be held since the United Nations ended its peacekeeping mission in Liberia in 2018.The mission was created after more than 250,000 people died in two civil wars between 1989 and 2003.Twenty candidates contested the presidential race, including incumbent George Weah — a former international football star — and his main rival, Joseph Boakai, who was vice president from 2006 to 2018.The EU mission said campaigning had been largely peaceful and that the media had been able to work freely.But, Schieder said, “the use of government platforms and state resources constituted an advantage to the incumbency”.”While the conduct of voting was generally evaluated as well-organised and smooth, the counting phase was assessed by EU observers less positively due to omission or incorrect implementation of several important procedural steps intended to ensure integrity of the count,” the EU mission said in its preliminary report.The election commission began reporting preliminary results on Wednesday, with the final outcome to be announced within 15 days of the vote.If no candidate obtains an absolute majority, a run-off will be held in early November.