— EU Chief election observer stresses the importance of October 10 Elections
Andreas Schieder, the Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observer Mission in Liberia (EU EOM), has described the country's October 10 polls as a significant test for democratic consolidation.
“I believe it is important for the European Union to accompany the Liberian people in this process. I trust that state authorities, political parties, and all candidates will play their part in promoting a credible, peaceful, transparent, and inclusive electoral process,” said Schieder, a Member of the European Parliament, during a press conference in Monrovia, on Friday, September 15.
Schieder added that the mission will observe and analyze the entire electoral process including the legal framework, the electoral administration, voters and candidates’ registration, the campaign environment, the media, and social media.
“The voting, the counting, the calculation of the results as well the complaints and the peace process. We will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process,” he said.
Last week a group of 20 Long-Term Observers were deployed in all fifteen counties of Liberia by the EU EOM to follow the electoral preparations and campaigns. The European Union is among the key international partners partnering with the National Elections Commission (NEC) to monitor not only the polling day but campaigns, debates, rallies, and endorsements. Their goal is to ensure that the election is free, fair, and peaceful.
“The deployment of EU observation is consistent with European continuous commitment with the support of reinforcing democracy, the rule of law, and also the political dialogue and peace in Liberia,” said Schieder.
According to the chief Observer, 40 Short-Term Observers will be additionally deployed throughout the country, alongside a Delegation of Members of the European Parliament and around 20 diplomats from EU Member States accredited in Liberia.
“The EU Election Observers come from the 27 different EU Member States, as well as Canada and Norway, bringing the number of EU Observers on Election Day to around 100.”
“After several meetings in Monrovia this week, I can see the state of preparations of the institutions in charge of elections as well as the candidates and political parties. Our long-term observers deployed in all 15 counties have already met various stakeholders and are preparing and sending us comprehensive evidence-based reports from their areas of observation,” said the Chief Observer.
“Around Election Day, an additional 40 Short-Term Observers will reinforce the EU EOM that will have around 100 observers on the ground, including Members of the European Parliament and EU diplomats accredited in Liberia, from EU Member States, as well as from Canada and Norway. All EU EOM observers are bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict neutrality and non-interference.”
He added that the EU Mission undertakes its work in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. It will issue its initial findings in a preliminary statement, which will be presented in a press conference two days after election day. “A Final Report with recommendations for improvement will be presented at a later stage,” he said.
“During my stay here this week in the country, I have to say it’s my first time in Liberia, but I am very happy to be here in Monrovia and to get in close touch — not only in reading files but also in experiencing the ground situation. I met with the chairperson and the commission of the National Election Commission, the minister of state for presidential affairs, the minister of justice, associate justices of the supreme court, candidates in the presidential race, as well as civil society and media.”