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Parties sign off on elections

20 of Liberia’s 22 registered political parties have signed a Farmington River Declaration, committing themselves to preventing electoral violence, impunity and injustice, pledging before ECOWAS Heads of States that where [such conflicts] occur, they would address them through mediation or through legal means.

“Our political campaign activities will be conducted in such a manner that will not only preserve but also enhance and maintain the peace and unity of Liberia”, the parties’ resolution read on Sunday, 4 June during ECOWAS’ 51st Summit chaired by Liberia’s President Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf in Margibi County.

Sister Mary Laurene read the Farmington River Declaration of commitment to peaceful elections and judicial resolution of elections dispute in Liberia, after which representatives of 20 political parties signed the instrument.

By signing the resolution, leaders of political parties say they commit themselves “to an orderly and peaceful elections process in October 2017”. President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf attested to the resolution signed by the parties and witnessed by leaders of Liberia’s Inter – Religious Council, as well as the head of the traditional chiefs. ECOWAS Heads of State at the event were also given documents to sign.

The ruling Unity Party’s standard bearer Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai signed the resolution, while main opposition Coalition for Democratic Change political leader Sen. George Weah also signed the resolution.

Other opposition political parties signed the resolution before ECOWAS Heads of State, including All Liberian Party’s Benonie Urey and Liberty Party’s Cllr. Charles Brumskine who, unlike the rest of the parties representatives, walked across the round table to shake hands with West African presidents before signing for his party.

In the resolution, the parties have resolved to work closely with all law enforcement agencies here to ensure that they perform their roles and duties effectively throughout the elections and post elections periods.

The parties called on government to set up a hotline and make it available to each stakeholder organization to monitor and report on situations that have the propensity to undermine the security, peace and harmony of the 2017 electoral process.

The signing of the Farmington Declaration by 20 party representatives came after a two – day consultative dialogue was convened here in Monrovia for 22 registered political parties last month.

At that forum, Mrs. Sirleaf committed government to conducting peaceful, free, fair and transparent democratic elections in 2017, leading to an orderly transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another one in January 2018.

In the Farmington River Declaration, the 20 parties agree and resolve that the Ganta Declaration of the political parties in Nimba County clearly sets the framework for free, fair and transparent non- violent elections.

As such, they say they are resolved that the 2017 presidential and representatives elections be held consistent with the Constitution and laws of Liberia and in line with all international standards. They seek a provision of a constitutional threshold by the Legislature for the conduct of the elections.

By Winston W. Parley

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