By Kruah Thompson
All 20 European Union Long-Term Observers, who departed Montserrado County on September 9, 2023, for deployment across Liberia to monitor the October 10th elections have safely reached their respective assignment areas.
As of September 12, 2023, the observers were deployed across all 15 counties of Liberia after enduring a challenging journey marked by difficult road conditions, particularly muddy roads near Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County. Nevertheless, they successfully completed their journey.
Reports indicate that the EU Long-Term Observers have commenced their initial meetings and are actively engaged in monitoring the pre-electoral phase in the 15 counties.
On August 27, the EU Election Observer Mission, led by Deputy Chief Observer, Jarek Domański, arrived in Monrovia with a Core Team of 10 analysts to observe the electoral process.
The group of experts, as detailed in an EU press release, encompasses professionals in election monitoring, politics, law, campaign finance, media, social media, and data analysis.
At the same time the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, has approved the deployment of 15 Long-term Election Observers (LTOs) to monitor key stages in the electoral process leading up to Election Day on 10 October 2023.
The deployment is consistent with provisions of Articles 12 to 14 of the 2001 ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance on assistance to Member States holding elections.
The Long-term Observation Mission (LTOM), headed by Mr. Serigne Mamadou KA, Ag. Head of the Electoral Assistance Division comprises experts in election administration, gender and civil society, constitutional law, security, and the media.
The LTO Mission will be in the country until 15th October 2023, to observe the electoral processes and also serve as an early warning mechanism for preventive diplomacy.
During their stay, the electoral experts will hold working sessions with various stakeholders, including the National Elections Commission (NEC), government, civil society organizations, the media, security agencies, as well as political parties and candidates, toward ensuring a smooth electoral process.
Some 2,471,617 registered voters among Liberia’s estimated population of 5.4 million, will elect Liberia’s new President, thirty (30) Senators, and seventy-three (73) members of the House of Representatives.
Incumbent President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is seeking re-election for a second term.
He faces 19 other candidates, including former Vice-President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party and Alexander Cummings of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).