European Union Elections Observer Mission Chief Observer Ms. Maria Arena says the Mission has met with opposition presidential candidates Sen. George Weah of Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Liberty Party (LP’s) Cllr. Charles Brumskine and ruling Unity Party (UP’s) candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia Friday, 22 September, Ms. Arena expressed hope that the EU will have the opportunity to meet with other presidential candidates it hasn’t met before elections day scheduled for 10 October this year.
According to the EU Elections Mission chief, different stakeholders including the parties they already met, civil society, the Supreme Court and the National Elections Commission (NEC) have all shared a concern as to the readiness of getting materials at the right place at the right time.
“All the people we met always, [whether] they are civil society or Supreme Court or NEC or candidates, they say we engage in a peaceful process,” says Ms. Arena, stressing the importance of political leaders’ commitment to engage in a peaceful process.
There are 20 presidential candidates for the October elections, but the EU says it has held dialogue with the three candidates so far and has heard the concerns of each of them, while it also explained its concern to them at the dialogue.
The EU Elections Observer Mission is cleared that it is not here to cover all the electoral districts in Liberia, but it will deploy observers to places that it can get the most information.
Ms. Arena’s Deputy Chief Observer Mr. Alessandro Parziale says the EU hopes that these elections will pass peacefully for a peaceful transition in Liberia.
“We are not here to validate any results,” Mr. Parziale says, adding that results are validated by national institutions, in this case, the NEC. He stresses that it is not the role of the EU Elections Observer Mission to validate results, noting that these are Liberian elections and Liberians will decide.
While avoiding results validation, the EU notes that it will observe and assess the elections against national law, commitments and obligations for democratic elections deriving from international and regional human rights instruments, as well as good practices for democratic elections.
It announces the deployment of 20 long – term observers throughout the different regions in Liberia, saying it observes and analyzes the whole electoral process including the legal framework, electoral administration, voter registration, nominations, campaigning, the conduct of the media, voting and the counting, tally of results and dispute resolution mechanisms.
By Winston W. Parley