Prof Attahiru Jega (left)
Prof Attahiru Jega (left)

ECOWAS urges calm in Liberia while awaiting election results

ECOWAS has appealed to Liberians, particularly political parties, candidates, and their supporters, to remain calm and patiently wait for the official declaration of the results by the National Elections Commission (NEC).

It reminded candidates and political parties of the commitments made within the framework of the Revised Farmington River about their decision to abide by the rules and regulations governing the polls and to use legitimate means to address all their challenges.

The NEC has 15 days after the day of the election to declare results. Already, some senatorial and House of Representative candidates have learned their fate.

This was contained in a preliminary statement issued by ECOWAS and signed by the Head of its Observer Mission in Liberia, Prof Attahiru Jega.

Prof Jega, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, is leading a 100-member Observer Mission to Liberia.

Liberians went to the polls on Tuesday to elect a president from a list of 20 candidates, including President George Weah, who is seeking re-election.

Others elected were 30 senators and 73 members of the House of Representatives.

With 19 NEC Magistrates (regional offices), they are collectively collating results from the presidential, senatorial, and House of Representatives races at 5,890 polling places.

Commendation

Prof Jega commended the high sense of patriotism exhibited by polling staff, the security forces, and the general populace, who collectively played their parts in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the polls.

He urged all stakeholders to refrain from making any statements that may lead to a breach of peace.

"The Mission urges the National Elections Commission to diligently, but urgently, work to ensure the timely and transparent release of the results to defuse any latent tensions that may arise out of long waits for results," Prof. Jega noted.

He gave the assurance that the ECOWAS Observer Mission will continue to closely monitor the concluding phases of the electoral process, in particular, the aggregation, collation, and release of the results from the counties and the declaration of preliminary results nationally and will make further pronouncements should the need arise.

Rains

The Mission said it had noted the challenges associated with infrastructure and their impact on the smooth conduct of the elections.

"While the Mission urges the Government to put in measures to ameliorate the infrastructure conditions of the country, it also urges the National Parliament and other critical stakeholders to consider the review of the relevant portions of the Constitution and the electoral law to allow for national elections to be held on dates during the dry season."

Voting

The Mission noted that the polling process generally proceeded smoothly and in a largely peaceful atmosphere, and eligible voters were able to freely participate in the process, even though the long queues, congestions at the voting precincts, and the slow pace of the process led to some grumbling and agitations by voters.

To address congestion and long queues at polling precincts, reforms may be introduced in the electoral laws to reduce the number of voters per polling unit, taking into consideration the resource needs for such reforms.

Kwamena Nyamekye, MONROVIA

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