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.