Many of Liberia’s bilateral partners are now growing gravely concerned about the political standoff in the country following the October 10 presidential and representative elections. The results of recent polls pointed to a run-off election to have been held on Nov. 7 between Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and Senator George M. Weah who won the highest votes but not an absolute majority as required by the Constitution of Liberia.
Ahead of the November 7 run-off, however, Liberty Party, the third runner up in the elections, filed a suit to the Supreme Court claiming massive fraud and gross irregularities in the elections. What was supposed to be a historic election and peaceful transfer of political power after 73 years, turned into a messy impasse with a barrage of blame and arguments coming from every corner of the political arena.
The European Union (EU) and its member countries are the latest to join the field of jittery stakeholders frantically seeking an expeditious path out of the potentially volatile political contention, to a smooth democratic transition for Liberia’s stability and economic growth.
Liberia’s international partners, including the African Union Liaison Office (AULOL), the Office of the ECOWAS Commission as well as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), last Monday expressed weariness of the situation if it is not resolved soon, which could affect the much anticipated smooth transition process that should be the first in over seven decades.
In a joint statement in Monrovia, the three organizations called for calm, stressed that the legal path is the best way to go. They also called for the expeditious adjudication of the ongoing election disputes.
But as concerns about the future of the country continue to pour in from many quarters during the prolonged impasse, the EU, in a press statement, said the constituted time for the transition must be adhered to.
The statement was issued jointly by the European Union Delegation to Liberia and the Embassies of EU Member States present in Liberia (France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.)
“We, therefore encourage all concerned to work constructively and in good faith to conclude the current complaints’ process without unnecessary delay, so that the electoral process can be completed in accordance with Constitutional timelines regarding the assumption of power by the next administration,” it said.
The EU said it is looking forward to continuing the cooperation with anyone that would be eventually elected. “We are looking up to working with Liberia’s new President and a new government.” The Liberian people demonstrated their commitment to democracy through the high turnout of voters on October 10 to cast their ballots in a peaceful atmosphere.
The EU has been and continues to follow the 2017 presidential and House of Representative elections with interest. Peace and security, together with democracy, good governance, and human rights, are some of the shared values at the heart of the EU-Africa partnership, the statement said.
The EU, meanwhile, congratulated both the Liberian people and political parties for the commitment shown to these values through the peaceful conduct of the electoral process so far, including through the use of the appropriate legal mechanisms to address any concerns. “Over the last twelve years the European Union has worked closely with Liberia to support both post-conflict reconstruction and long-term development,” it said.
“We would like to stress the importance of a smooth democratic transition for Liberia’s stability and economic growth,” it said. “It is now the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the electoral process continues in a manner which respects the will of the people, thereby putting Liberia’s interests first. We trust that this will continue to be the case.”