More international pressure mounts over Liberia election delay

 A three-member delegation of the European Union (EU) headed by EU Ambassador to Liberia, Tiina Intelmann, on Monday met with the Chairman and Executive-Director of the National Elections Commission (NEC)  in Monrovia.

CONAKRY, GUINEA ––As Liberia’s political impasse continues with bruising economic uncertainties and growing questions of national and regional insecurity, the European Union on Tuesday joined several other international institutions urging Liberian political parties and the country’s electoral commission to end “unnecessary delays” and elect a new president.

After the 10 October 2017 poll, a runoff election to elect a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was suspended indefinitely by the Supreme Court on October 31 awaiting the resolution of a fraud complaint filed l with the electoral commission.

Liberty Party presidential candidate, Charles Walker Brumskine, who came third in the first round of voting on October 10, filed the complaint alleging irregularities and serious.

Brumskine was later on backed by the ruling Unity Party’s candidate, Vice-President Joseph Boakai, who placed second and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) presidential candidate, former Coca-Cola executive, Alexander B. Cummings, Jr., and the All Liberian Party (ALP) presidential candidate, businessman Benoni Urey.

In a strong statement, the European Union delegation to Liberia said it would “encourage all concerned to work constructively and in good faith to conclude the current complaints process without unnecessary delay.”

November 7, 2017, was the date set for the runoff between ex-international soccer star and Montserrado County, George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and incumbent Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, a man considered as one of the most experienced bureaucrats and political leaders in recent Liberian history.

According to multiple sources, examination of the party’s grievances against the National Elections Commission (NEC) is said to be proceeding with no immediate decision expected soon.

Many blame the impasse on current Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who both Liberians and some in the international community accused of hindering and interfering in the electoral process for fear of being prosecuted for economic crimes as well as possible war crimes for her role in the Liberian civil conflict in which is alleged to have financed Charles Taylor’s rebel group.

To stabilized Liberia and conduct the presidential election, international donors and Liberia’s partners have poured billions of dollars into the country since 2005.  Yet, poor governance has demoralized the country economic growth and transitional democracy.

“The Liberian people demonstrated their commitment to democracy through the high turnout of voters on 10 October who cast their ballots in a peaceful atmosphere,” the EU statement added, calling for a process “which respects the will of the people.”

The EU position on the country’s political stalemate follows a joint statement from the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Liberia’s United Nations peacekeeping mission warning stakeholders and urging those calling for a re-run of the whole election, a process they say would drag the process into the new year.

“We cannot but express concern over the prospects of a significant delay in bringing the litigations to their closure, thereby thwarting completion of the election process before the constitutionally-mandated date of government transition in January 2018,” the statement released Friday said.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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