The European Union Election Observation Mission welcomes the resolution of electoral complaints allowing Liberian voters to fulfill their right to elect their President

Following the 10 October ballot, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has been closely following election disputes, appeals and petitions raised at the NEC and before the Supreme Court of Liberia.

On 3 November, the Supreme Court heard an application to suspend the second round of the presidential race scheduled for 7 November pending the resolution of complaints. On 6 November, the Court granted a stay on the run-off based on interpretation of the relevant constitutional provision.

The Supreme Court’s final majority decision of 7 December, among other things, mirrored key findings in the EU EOM’s Preliminary Statement. More importantly, however, the Supreme Court’s ruling enables Liberian voters to now fulfill their right to elect their next President.

“This decision is an important contribution to the democratic capital built so far in Liberia. The conclusion of complaints permits the elections to proceed, while the right of citizens to elect their chosen leaders shall be respected”, stated the EU EOM Chief Observer, Maria Arena.

In the period 6 November to 7 December, the EU EOM noted the National Election Commission (NEC) was faced with numerous complaints from various candidates across the country. In some instances, an increasingly complex array of motions and applications impeded the resolution of disputes within the strict limit of constitutional timelines. Hence, the EU EOM commends the NEC for its efforts to administer hearings comprehensively and inclusively.

The Supreme Court conducted key appeal cases in a swift and efficient manner, underlining the importance the Honourable Justices attach to the expeditious handling of electoral cases. Notwithstanding some misinformation and uncertainty surrounding the period after the suspension of the run-off, Liberian citizens, partisans and non-partisans alike, remained patient and respectful of the principles of peace, democracy and rule of law.

“The voters’ trust towards the electoral process is paramount and must be ensured by public institutions and media, continuing to provide citizens with accurate and timely information on the remaining stages of the election process”, concludes the Chief Observer.

The EU EOM also wishes to commend all political parties for their firm commitment to resolve disputes through mediation and judicial means. The mission encourages the stakeholders to continue promoting a violence-free election as expressed in their various public statements thus far.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Union Election Observation Mission.

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Source:: The European Union Election Observation Mission welcomes the resolution of electoral complaints allowing Liberian voters to fulfill their right to elect their President

      

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South Africa to Participate at World Trade Organisation 11th Ministerial Conference

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, together with the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe, have arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11) to be held, 10-13 December 2017. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision making body in the WTO and will be attended by delegates of the 164 countries which are members of the WTO.

The Informal Africa Ministers of Trade meeting on the WTO that was held on 18 September 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, reiterated Africa’s commitment to the development mandate of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and agreed that Africa should seek outcomes that provide policy space for Africa to pursue integration and industrialisation to drive the process of structural transformation across the African continent. This meeting was jointly hosted by South Africa and the African Union Commission (AUC).

The Ministers also agreed on the need to ensure that the outcomes achieved at the multilateral level do not undermine the continent’s development integration agenda that encompasses market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development.

According to Minister Davies, MC11 is held at a time of increasing backlash against multilateralism and trade liberalisation due to the lack of inclusive growth.

“There is a need to define a new form of ‘inclusive multilateralism”. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its 2017 Trade and Development Report calls for a ‘global new deal’ to enhance growth and development” indicates Davies.

Minister Davies highlights that South Africa is of the view that there is a need to define a new form of “inclusive multilateralism” that promotes inclusive growth and sustainable development and MC11 can provide an opportunity to start a discussion on this issue.

Minister Davies states that South Africa’s priorities are aligned to those of the African Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group. The key priority is therefore to conclude the outstanding work of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) including, in agriculture, to address the trade distorting domestic support subsidies being provided by mainly developed countries.

Minister Davies also noted that there were many proposals on the different issues discussed at the WTO but there seems to be very little convergence.

“On the SA side, we are assessing each of the proposed issues, to determine whether they can indeed be delivered, whether they meet SA’s most urgent developmental needs, and whether they involve demands that unacceptably limit our policy space.”

The South African government hosted the National Consultative Forum on 13 October 2017 to prepare for the MC11. The meeting was attended by representatives of Government, Labour and Business. The National Consultative Forum also provided an opportunity for Government and Labour to sign a Pledge not to concede to become a party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

The Pledge is an outcome of the annual NEDLAC Trade and Industry Chamber’s Strategic Session with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, held on 22 September 2017 at NEDLAC House. In the strategic session, a resolution was taken by NEDLAC Constituencies; which include organised labour (COSATU); organised business (BUSA) and Government (the Department of Trade and Industry) not to concede and sign on to “The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement”. Subsequent to the National Consultative Forum, the Pledge has also been signed by Business.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence condemn attack on peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, today (December 9, 2017) issued the following statement after an attack on peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

“Canada strongly condemns the recent attack against the UN’s Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).”

“Peacekeepers serve bravely and selflessly to help bring about peace and security for innocent people. An attack on peacekeepers is an attack on us all.”

“We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families, colleagues and friends of those killed in the brutal and unjustifiable assault, which killed over a dozen peacekeepers and soldiers and wounded many more.”

“This tragic loss will not diminish our ongoing efforts with partner countries and the UN to strengthen the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions. The global community will not be intimidated by such mindless violence.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Canada.

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Parliament Statement on Passing of Struggle Veteran and Former Member of Parliament Mr. Laloo Chiba

The Presiding Officers of Parliament, National Assembly Speaker Ms. Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Ms. Thandi Modise, are deeply saddened by the passing of struggle stalwart and former Member of Parliament Mr. Laloo Chiba.

On behalf of Parliament, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Chiba’s wife, Luxmi, his daughters and grandchildren and his comrades and friends.

Mr. Chiba was elected as a Member of Parliament in South Africa’s first non-racial democratic election in 1994 and again in our 1999 election.

This followed a life dedicated to the struggle against the apartheid government and for a non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa, as envisaged in our Constitution.

He was a member of the South African Communist Party, the Transvaal Indian Congress and a commander of uMkhonto we Sizwe. Together with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and others, he was incarcerated on Robben Island. His imprisonment on the Island endured for 18 years.

After his release, he became a leader in the United Democratic Front, launched in Mitchell’s Plain Cape Town in August 1983, which united hundreds of anti-apartheid organisations in a mass movement for democracy and freedom.

After retiring from Parliament, Mr. Chiba continued his lifelong dedication to entrenching the non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society for which he had fought. At the time of his passing, he was also a board member of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

While the passing of this veteran of our struggle for democracy leaves a painful void, it must serve as a reminder to rededicate ourselves to the ideals for which they stood.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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Source:: Parliament Statement on Passing of Struggle Veteran and Former Member of Parliament Mr. Laloo Chiba

      

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