There are red flags wavering over Liberia’s 2017 presidential and legislative elections, with fears of post-election violence that could rock the country if the necessary steps are not taken now.
Recently, the opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC warned of cheating if biometric voters’ registration cards are not use in the pending election, the party claims could reverse the country’s path to history.
On Monday July 18, the carter Center issued its pre-election environment assessment report, expressing serious concerns about the post-election environment here-“if the elections fail to meet international standards.”
“These elections present an historic opportunity for Liberia, and I call on all Liberians to commit to peaceful participation in the democratic process, consistent with the rule of law,” said Jordan Ryan, the Carter Center’s vice president for peace programs and a former United Nations Mission in Liberia deputy special representative.
Although the Carter Center acknowledged the strong desire among all Liberians for the elections to proceed smoothly and peacefully, but calls on Liberia’s leaders and citizens to commit to peaceful political participation to ensure violence-free elections, consistent with the law, and to continue the strengthening of democracy and development here.
The center made several recommendations, including strengthen campaign-finance regulations and their implementation; Provision of adequate funding to the National Election Commission or NEC and to take immediate action to ensure the equal political participation of women.
Its recommendations are contained in the Carter Center’s assessment of Liberia’s pre-election environment aimed at helping the post conflict West African state continue to strengthen its democracy. In April and July, the Center’s Democracy Program sent delegations here to assess the current political environment and status of technical preparations in advance of presidential and legislative elections anticipated in October 2017.
The delegations met with political parties, presidential aspirants, the National Elections Commission, Supreme Court officials, the Liberian National Police, civil society leaders, and members of the international community to understand current dynamics and key challenges.
The 2017 national elections represent a critical moment in Liberia’s recovery from war and transition to a peaceful democracy, and the first post-war transition from one elected president to another through a democratic process.
Liberia’s Vice President Mr. Joseph Nyumah Boakai has secured the ruling Unity Party or UP presidential ticket to contest in the 2017 presidential and representative elections against dozens of opposition presidential contenders and parties.
Already, some opponents including former rebel leader, now Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson, have begun issuing warnings of possible popular uprising if the pending elections were rigged in favor of the ruling UP’s presidential candidate Mr. Boakai. But the Carter Center has cautioned that these elections will be the third presidential elections since the end of Liberia’s armed conflict, and a key test for Liberians to consolidate democratic governance through peaceful competition for political power at both the presidential and legislative levels.-The New Dawn