Barely days after a high-level delegation from the United States-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) concluded a robust observation mission in the country — commending election stakeholders as well as proffering many recommendations to ensure a peaceful and transparent electoral process — another international election observer mission has made its presence known in the country.
The European Union (EU) last Thursday deployed an Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), comprising 20 long-term observers to the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for October 10.
The EU-EOM deputy chief observer, Alessandro Parziale, said at a press conference in Monrovia that The EU Mission will monitor the process without interfering or supervising. “I hope that our team of analysts and observers will contribute with impartial and objective assessments to a democratic transition in Liberia,” which he described as a historical moment for the country.
Besides the deputy chief observer, the new mission arrived in Monrovia on August 31 with a core team of eight analysts consisting of election, political, legal, human rights and gender, finance, media and data experts.
Mr. Parziale said that since the team’s arrival, they have been meeting with many stakeholders involved in the electoral process. “On the 4th of September the team met with the chairman, co-chairman and Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and launched the mission officially,” he said.
Since then the EU-EOM has held several meetings with Liberian authorities and groups, including ministers, journalists and civil society organizations as well as the delegation of the EU to Liberia.
A group of 20 long-term observers joined the EU-EOM on September 10, and were deployed on Thursday, September 14 to various parts of Liberia to follow electoral preparations and campaigns. The observers come from 20 EU member states and will stay in Liberia beyond election day. Additionally, 34 short-term observers will be deployed throughout the country, together with locally recruited short-term observers.
“The EU-EOM will assess the elections, according to Liberia’s national law, and the international commitments it has made regarding elections. It will focus on the entire electoral process, including the legal framework, electoral administration, voter registration, nominations, campaigning, the conduct of the media, voting and the counting, the tally of results and dispute resolution mechanisms,” explained Mr. Parziale.
All EU-EOM observers are bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict neutrality and non-interference. The EU-EOM undertakes its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. It will publish its initial findings in a preliminary statement, which will be presented at a press conference shortly after election day. A final report with recommendations to the public will be presented at a later date.