By Harrison Arubu
The ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia has released its preliminary report on Tuesday’s presidential runoff polls in the country, declaring it as peaceful, transparent and fair.
Head of the mission and former President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama, presented the report at a joint press conference with the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) in Monrovia on Wednesday evening.
However, Mahama was quick to note that the declaration was limited to the point of vote counting.
· Cue in: John Mahama
“The ECOWAS Election Observation Mission noted with satisfaction the peaceful conduct of the Dec. 26, 2017 poll in the Republic of Liberia.
“Most of the polling places visited opened not later than 15 minutes after the official opening time of 8 a.m., with an effective presence of representatives of both parties (CDC and UP) in all the polling places covered.
“On the whole, the processing of voters and the casting of ballots followed acceptable standards and were in accordance with the laws and procedures governing elections in the country.’’
· Cue out
The mission appealed to the two candidates in the runoff and their supporters to accept the will of the electoral, and explore legal means of seeking redress in the event of genuine grievances.
While congratulating Liberians for their patience, determination and peaceful conduct so far, the ECOWAS team appealed to them to sustain the spirit until the end of the process.
In its preliminary report presented by its Head of mission, Mr Erastus Mwencha, the AU team said the runoff was conducted in an orderly and efficient manner and in a peaceful atmosphere.
It observed that there was significant improvement in the management of the process, especially in the area of queue control and identification of voters.
“The mission concludes that despite the legal challenges faced by NEC, compounded by the limited timeline to prepare, the Dec. 26, 2017 presidential runoff election was conducted in an orderly and efficient manner, within a calm and peaceful environment.
“The mission commends all Liberians for their patience during the legal challenges, which demonstrated their strong commitment to peace and democratic consolidation.
“All stakeholders should continue to strive for a sustained peace and peaceful transition and democratic consolidation.’’
Like its ECOWAS counterpart, the AU mission also urged stakeholders dissatisfied with the outcome of the runoff to seek redress only through legal means.
Both missions said they would issue comprehensive reports within three months after the announcement of the final results.