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Heads Of International Observer Groups Strategise On Liberia’s Crucial Elections

Heads of international election observation missions to Liberia met in Monrovia 8th October to share information and experiences ahead of the country’s crucial presidential legislative polls.

The Head of ECOWAS 71-member Election Observation Mission John Mahama, who chaired the meeting, told his colleagues that the Liberian vote, coming on the heels of the highly contested August election in Kenya, had raised the assessment bar for international observers.

“We need to exchange information on the issues that are bubbling up so that we can be on the same wave length,’ said the immediate-past president of Ghana, who also led the Commonwealth observer mission to the Kenyan election, which result was overturned by the Supreme Court, over “irregularities and illegalities” related to vote tallying and result transmission.

He said the outcome of the Liberian election could impact peace and security in the country, the region and the continent.

While providing details of their engagements with Liberian stakeholders and deployment plans, some of the heads of observer missions, stressed the need for international observer groups to exercise greater caution in their post-election declarations to avoid the negative perceptions from the Kenyan experience.  

They expressed optimism that the Liberian polls would go well, given the generally peaceful pre-election activities, and promised to share information and experiences prior to making their assessment public.

Other international observer groups represented at the meeting included the African Union, the EU, Carter Center, U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).

Also present were members of the ECOWAS Technical Team providing support to the Long-term and Short-term observers deployed across Liberia’s 15 administrative Counties for the October 10 vote.

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