UN Concerned About Liberia’s Election Delays

Curious and concerned Liberians have their ears still turned to the Supreme Court of Liberia on whether or not the High Court final ruling would be in favor of runoff or rerun elections.

The Supreme Court of Liberia reserved ruling in the bill of exception filed by Liberty Party and Unity Party against the National Elections Commission for Thursday, December 7, 2017.

NEC Board of Commissioners recently upheld an earlier ruling by its chief hearing officer, denying LP and UP claims of elections irregularities and fraud in the October 10 polls.

Amidst the anxiety among Liberians, there are growing reports of the arbitrary increase in the prices of basic commodities, including petroleum products, on the local market.

Many Liberians have blamed the increased in the prices of basic commodities to the current political stalemate the country is experiencing.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose two terms of office is nearing an end is expected to turn over power to a successor on January 16, 2018, but there are growing uncertainties of a timely transfer of power due to the stalemate in the electoral process.

Concerned about an imminent political crisis, UN West African Mission in a recent statement said free, fair and transparent elections are a prerequisite for consolidation of peace and sustainable development in Liberia.

At the invitation of UN Secretary-General Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Heads of UN Missions in West Africa and the Sahel held their 31st High-level Meeting in Monrovia on December 1, 2017.

The objective of the meeting was to provide insights and exchange views on peace and security dynamics in West Africa, and as well strengthen coordination in order to address common challenges such as elections, transnational organized crime, violent extremism and terrorism.

The security sector, constitutional reform processes and democratic transitions were also discussed.

In attendance were UN Secretary-General Special Representatives and Heads of UN missions in Liberia (UNMIL), Mr. FaridZarif, Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif of UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Babacar Cissé, also attended.

The Heads of missions lauded the peaceful nature of the 10 October elections in Liberia. They noted that compliance with the rule of law and due process is essential for strengthening Liberia’s nascent democracy.

The Heads of missions expressed hope that the electoral process would be concluded expeditiously, stressing those legal challenges should be legitimate and in good faith.

They further emphasised that the will of the Liberian people must be respected.

The Heads of missions also noted the importance of complying with the constitutionally-mandated date for the inauguration of the new government in January 2018.

In this connection, they underscored the need for all parties and stakeholders to exercise restraint, uphold the rule of law, and conduct all activities with civility and in a non-violent manner, including in their public discourse.

 By: Alfred Kollie

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