-Says it is a test of the country’s democracy
William Q. Harmon and Gloria T. Tamba
The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), the key civil society institution that observes elections, has lauded the manner in which stakeholders are proceeding with the legal process in addressing the grievances emanating from the October 10 presidential and legislative elections.
Following the announcement of the elections results on October 20, several political parties and independent candidates filed complaints alleging irregularities and frauds associated with the conduct of the elections, moves the ECC termed at a press conference yesterday as ‘laudable.’
“In our preliminary observation report, we called on all parties and candidates to pursue the legal process in handling electoral disputes and petitions, and this is what we have seen so far,” ECC Chairman Oscar Bloh said.
He added, “In view of this, the ECC wishes to commend all political parties and independent candidates for taking the path of the law in seeking solutions to their grievances.”
Mr. Bloh however lauded the Supreme Court for the speedy and timely adjudication of the writ of prohibition sought by the Liberty Party.
“We urge the court to maintain this pace in hearing and adjudicating all other electoral petitions that may be filed with it and hand down opinions that are guided by laws and not influenced by public sentiments,” he said.
The ECC, which works in partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA), reaffirmed its call for adherence to the rule of law in the resolution of electoral disputes.
“We reaffirm our call for adherence to the rule of law in the adjudication of all electoral disputes and the protection of our democracy and the Constitution,” Mr. Bloh said.
He also commended leaders of political parties for demonstrating leadership by calling on their supporters to remain calm while the electoral disputes and petitions are being heard.
In safeguarding the country’s fragile democracy, the ECC calls on national, regional and international partners to remain engaged with all stakeholders including political parties, media, security, and civil society.
Bloh described talks of an interim government as ‘premature’ and need to be discouraged.
“We applaud the NEC for giving priority to the hearing of the All Liberian Party complaints as well as the LP case, as instructed by the Supreme Court.” Acknowledging the legal technicalities associated with electoral petitions and the doctrine of due process, Bloh called on the NEC to provide regular update to the public on progress made on the disposition of the LP’s case, and all other complaints.