By Bridgett Milton
The United States Embassy in Liberia has issued a statement, warning all political parties and candidates to await the official results calmly, patiently and peacefully from the National Elections Commission (NEC), rather than announcing themselves winners of Tuesday’s polls.
“We urge all citizens, political parties, and political aspirants to await official results calmly, patiently, and peacefully from the National Elections Commission of Liberia”, the statement issued in Monrovia reads.
Immediately after polls closed on Tuesday, many political parties and political aspirants took to social media here, claiming victory and congratulating themselves.
The U.S. Mission applauds the people of Liberia for their participation in the October 10, 2023 Presidential and General Elections, commending the level of commitment and dedication they displayed in exercising their right to vote and engage in the electoral process.
The U.S. recently announced visa restrictions for those that will undermine Liberia’s democracy, including their family members.
Speaking in a news conference on Thursday, September 28, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for West Africa, Michael Heath, who visited the country, said his visit is a manifestation of the United States Government’s desire for free, fair and peaceful elections in Liberia.
Mr. Heath disclosed that on 27 September, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new visa restriction policy under Section 212(a) (3) (C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for those undermining democracy in Liberia.
Mr. Heath noted that this policy is not directed at the Liberian people or the Government of Liberia.
He said the decision to impose visa restrictions reflects America’s commitment to support Liberians’ aspirations to have free and fair elections that demonstrate the will of the people and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
Preliminary results released by the National Elections Commission from two counties indicates that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the opposition Unity Party (UP) battling each other for votes followed by the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) trading behind, as one of the three top parties in the race.
More than 2 million voters went to the poll on Tuesday to elect a President, among 20 candidates, including incumbent President George Manneh Weah, who is seeking a second term. Editing by Jonathan Browne