ECOWAS Declares Runoff Peaceful
The ECOWAS Observation Mission to Liberia says voting commenced here peacefully and on time in all polling stations across the country without any violent incident.
According to the Mission, election materials were adequate and available in almost all polling units, noting low voter turnout characterized early voting, but the crowd gradually improved during the course of the day.
In a 15-count Preliminary Declaration issued in Monrovia following Tuesday’s poll, it described electoral officials as “professional and impartial in the discharge of their duties” and added that counting and collation were conducted in accordance with the electoral laws in virtually all polling centres.
Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, who read the Preliminary Declaration, however noted that representatives of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change were conspicuously absent in all polling centres visited while representatives of the governing Unity Party were present in almost all polling centres.
It praised Liberian security officials and their patrol teams for being present effectively at most polling stations during the runoff. The Mission however said despite these findings, voter turnout remained a concern. “While it increased during the course of voting, it seems relatively low compared to the first round”, it pointed out.
Professor Jega said while awaiting the end of the tallying process, which is being observed by ECOWAS Observers in the 19 magisterial offices, the Mission found no major irregularities in the voting process itself, saying “It considers, on the whole, that the elections of November 8, 2011, met the acceptable conditions of being free, fair and transparent.”
Meanwhile, the Mission has welcomed the sense of duty of Liberians, who have moved gradually to exercise their voting rights despite the uncertainties related to the call for boycott and the regrettable incidents on the eve of the run-off presidential election and commended in particular the NEC for the improvements made in the organizational aspect of the polls and the efficiency with which election officials managed the operations.
Professor Jega is leading an enhanced Observation Mission of 200 persons to Liberia for the runoff presidential election boycotted by the opposition Congress for Democratic Change.
The Mission has called on all stakeholders to tirelessly work towards consolidating peace and national reconciliation through a participatory and all-inclusive process of dialogue in the general interest of development of Liberia.