The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Liberia says it remains committed to the confines of neutrality in the Liberian election as called for by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation signed in 2005 at the United Nations.
According to the EU EOM, it assesses the electoral process against international obligations and commitments for democratic elections as well as the laws of Liberia, thereby making it binding to exercise neutrality in the political decision-making process of Liberia.
The EU EOM statement follows the Supreme Court ruling in the case filed by the Liberty Party and backed by the Unity Party (UP), All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) on alleged fraud and irregularities in the elections.
While the investigation was ongoing at the Supreme Court, the United States Embassy, Carter Center and the Institute for Research & Democratic Development (IREDD), came out with separate but contextually related statements calling on the high court to hurry with the proceeding in order to have the runoff election.
The US Embassy and the two non-governmental institutions said in their statements that the delay was not pleasant for Liberia’s democracy as the irregularities and fraud were not substantial enough to necessitate a rerun of the October 10 polls.
For the EU EOM, its statement following the first round of the election pointed to some challenges and the overwhelming voter turnout.
The mission through its Deputy Chief Observer, Alessandro Parziale, informed the Daily Observer earlier that it was maintaining silence on the conduct of the election until the entire process is over before coming out with its final observations.
The EU EOM in a statement acknowledged the National Elections Commission (NEC) for its efforts to administer hearings on complaints from some discontented parties in the October 10 polls.
It also acknowledged the role of the high court in expeditiously handling the electoral cases but with a concern that there were some misinformation and uncertainty during the period after the suspension of the runoff, something the mission says, despite the situation, Liberian citizens, partisans and non-partisans remained patient with and respectful of the principles of peace, democracy, and the rule of law.
The EU Mission further commended political parties for not instigating violence as a means of reacting to the disputes, and for following judicial and mediation rules to resolve the issues.
The mission’s Chief Observer, Maria Arena, reminded all stakeholders that, “The voters’ trust towards the electoral process is paramount and must be ensured by public institutions and media, continuing to provide citizens with accurate and timely information on the remaining stages of the election process.”
Meanwhile, following the October 10 ballot, EU EOM says it has been closely following election disputes, appeals and petitions raised at the NEC and before the Supreme Court of Liberia, according to a release.
More importantly, however, the Supreme Court’s ruling enables Liberian voters to now fulfill their right to elect their next president.
“This decision is an important contribution to the democratic capital built so far in Liberia. The conclusion of complaints permits the elections to proceed, while the right of citizens to elect their chosen leaders shall be respected,” stated Arena.
The EU EOM also commended all political parties for their firm commitment to resolving disputes through mediation and judicial means.
The mission has called on stakeholders to continue promoting a violence-free election as expressed in their various public statements thus far.
The EU EOM remains in the country to observe the ongoing election developments. The mission’s final assessment will reflect the conduct of the remaining stages of the election process.
The EU EOM has been present in Liberia since September 1, 2017, following an invitation from Liberian authorities.