U.S. Gov’t: “We Have Confidence in Integrity of October 2017 Elections”
Monrovia – The United States embassy in Monrovia says it had not seen no sign of manipulation in last month’s election in Liberia, amid allegations of irregularities and fraud that have stalled a run-off poll.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
First-round winner George Weah, a standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), was initially set to face the runner-up, Vice President Joseph Boakai, standard bearer of ruling Unity Party (UP) on November 7 to determine who will replace current term-limited President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
But the third-place finisher, Charles Brumskine of Liberty Party, contested the outcome of the first round, claiming gross irregularities had occurred and accusing NEC officials of fraud, an allegation the body denies.
“No accredited Liberian, regional, or international observation group suggested that the cumulative anomalies observed reflect systemic issues sufficient to undermine the fundamental integrity of the electoral process,” the U.S. embassy said in a statement.
Liberia’s Supreme Court ordered the Elections Commission to fully examine Brumskine’s allegations last week, a decision likely to push back the run-off date by weeks and even creates the possibility of the first round being re-run.
A number of first-round candidates, including Boakai, have publicly backed Brumskine’s challenge to the results and echoed his fraud allegations.
The U.S. Embassy, through the release, urges the top two finishers, who collectively received the support of two-thirds of Liberian voters, to focus on constructively engaging each other and voters as they prepare to compete in the runoff.
We appreciate that parties are availing themselves of the legal right to dispute resolution. We note, however, that with rights come responsibilities.
“Disputes and litigation should be initiated and conducted in good faith by the claimants, the NEC, and if needed, the Supreme Court, in an expeditious manner to permit the timely conclusion of Liberia’s electoral process and a peaceful transition,” the release added.
The release adds that Liberia’s political leaders should take their cue from the citizens who waited patiently to vote and did so with respect for their fellow citizens, regardless of political views.
“Efforts by any actors to impede the expressed will of Liberia’s people for personal ambition could risk goodwill and future investments in Liberia by international partners,” the statement said.
The US Embassy said the Liberian people and the international community have worked too hard and invested too much to watch Liberia’s progress stall.
The United States, through the statement, reaffirmed its commitment to Liberia’s future and encourages Liberians to conclude the presidential electoral process as soon as possible to allow Liberia’s democratic and economic progress to continue.
EU warns against “unnecessary delay”
The EU diplomats warned against “unnecessary delays in the adjudication of complaints arising from the October 10 elections, so that the electoral process can be completed in line with the constitutional timeline.”
In a joint statement issued Tuesday, they encouraged all concerned “to work constructively and in good faith to complete the on-going adjudication of complaints at the National Elections Commission without delay.
In the statement, the EU Delegation said it had over the past twelve years worked closely with Liberia to support both post-conflict reconstruction and long-term development.
It stressed the importance of a smooth democratic transition for Liberia’s stability and economic growth, and added that it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the electoral process continues in a way that respects the will of the people, thereby putting Liberia’s interest first.
In the joint statement, the European envoys said they will continue to follow the process with keen interest, and said 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.