Tonight, the Liberia Supreme Court issued their ruling to deny the Bill of Information filed last Thursday by the Unity Party. The Bill alleged that the NEC was not properly implementing the Court’s order in the Liberty Party/Unity Party election complaint ruling, and that the NEC did not have the authority to set the election date. Unity Party asked the court for a second election delay to allow ample time to clean the voter roll.
The Court just ruled to deny the Bill of Information, saying that the election timeline is mandated by the constitution. They also stated that the NEC should improve on their efforts to consult with the party.
Therefore, the December 26 date for the presidential runoff election will hold.
NDI will deploy sixteen teams of observers next Tuesday. The mission will be led by Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria, Atifete Jahjaga, former president of Kosovo, Hanna Tetteh, former president of Ghana, and Chris Fomunyoh, NDI Senior Advisor.
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NDI International Election Observer Mission Arrives in Liberia for Run-Off Presidential Election
MONROVIA, Liberia – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) is fielding an international election observation mission for Liberia's run-off presidential election scheduled for December 26, 2017.
The delegation includes 36 political and civic leaders, elections experts, and regional specialists from 18 countries across Africa, Europe and North America. Leadership of the delegation is comprised of:
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of Nigeria;
Atifete Jahjaga, former President of Kosovo;
Hanna Tetteh, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana; and
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Regional Director, NDI.
“I am honored to co-lead NDI's international delegation to support transparent and peaceful elections in Liberia, especially given the very close relationship Nigeria has always had with the country,” said President Goodluck Jonathan.
After meeting with with the National Elections Commission, government officials, political party leaders and civil society representatives, NDI’s delegation will observe polling places on election day. NDI has been observing the Liberian electoral process since February. This has included sending a 35-member international team of observers for the October 10th elections that issued recommendations to Liberian stakeholders, as well as pre-election assessment missions in February and September. Since July, NDI has also deployed six mobile long-term observers and four long-term analysts in Liberia.
“Exercising the right to vote is one of the most powerful actions in a democracy,” said President Jahjaga. “It is a privilege to observe this important election in Liberia in which citizens will determine the direction they want for their country.”
The NDI delegation will hold a press conference on Thursday, December 28 at the Royal Grand Hotel in Monrovia. At that time, NDI will issue a report with the delegation’s findings and recommendations on steps that could enhance confidence and participation in future elections.
Each Liberian that votes will be making a significant choice about their future,” said Dr. Fomunyoh. “The people of Liberia have been patient and they deserve to have their voices heard this coming Tuesday."
Over the last 25 years, NDI has conducted more than 150 election observation missions in 62 countries. NDI first worked in Liberia in 1997, providing technical assistance to Liberian voter education and election monitoring efforts. The Institute has maintained an in-country office in Liberia since 2003. More information is available at www.ndi.org/liberia.
The international observation mission is supported by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
NDI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness, and accountability in government.
1. State-controlled radio and some private stations are broadcasting results from individual polling stations for the two elections. They often stress these results are “unofficial”. No station heard so far is adding numbers to give a national picture.
2. The UN radio station, UNMIL Radio, ran interviews today, including with:
Senator Gary Peters, NDI observer. His top line: “At every polling place NDI visited we saw voters determined to cast their vote for Liberia’s future. It was best summed up by a voter waiting patiently in line who told me, ‘This is OUR day! I will wait as long as it takes.’’’
Oscar Bloe of the Liberian elections monitoring group, the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC). He cited delays in voting, no light in some stations and voters’ names missing from the roll. A key message was that ECC would be calling for future elections to be held in the dry season to avoid logistical problems caused by rain.
Sam Collins of the Liberian National Police reported the arrest of a man in Montsserado County who was caught with “an unspecified number of voters cards”. He was going to court today, Collins said. Someone else was arrested, and was being interrogated, for having “fake registration cards” – unclear if this meant voters’ cards.
3. NDI observation leaders Senators Ken Nnamani and Gary Peters, as well as Chris Fomunyoh, have appeared extensively on a wide variety of international and local media including BBC, Al Jazeera, China Global TV, Liberian state radio, and Liberian newspapers. Chris spoke in English, French and west African Pidgin English.
4. ECOWAS/AU joint press conference (Wednesday Oct 11). Both organizations warmly endorsed the elections but the former Ghana President John Mahama, ECOWAS Chief observer, stressed the words “thus far”. He said this was because of his experience as an observer in Kenya. One of his aides said publicly it was a case of “once bitten twice shy”. ECOWAS and the AU said there were problems with the voters’ roll, which should be arranged alphabetically, and with queue organisation. Both ECOWAS and AU said they recommended more female candidate participation. A reporter from Women Voices newspaper then asked why - if they were so keen on gender balance - the six people giving the press conference were all men. Mr Mahama and his colleagues then named every woman involved in the process that they could think of. A female AU observer was heard to say quietly to herself ; “Hah, this is just for show”.
5. “Unofficial results put Weah and Boakai in lead”
Bush chicken news website, October 11
6. “Liberty Party performs worse than expected – unofficial results”
Bush Chicken news website, October 11
7. Liberia: ”I wont accept anything but victory”
New Dawn, October 11
8. Why ruling party may get another mandate
The News, October 11
9. Corruption and mismanagement can be the fault of voters, too. (Editorial)
Front Page Africa, October 10
10. Non-breaking international coverage
Africa's Best Footballer, an Ex-Warlord and a Former Model All Want to be Liberia's Next President - Newsweek. October 9
Liberia's election closes chapter of history – but for voters, past is present - Christian Science Monitor. October 9
Liberia’s Women Warn Male Presidential Candidates: Keep the Peace - The New York Times. October 9
Liberia faces key poll to replace Africa’s 1st female leader - The Washington Post. October 9
Liberian election proves strength of budding democracy in Africa - (opinion) The Hill. October 9
Liberia faces key poll to replace Africa's 1st female leader – Associated Press via ABC News. October 9, 2017. (mentions NDI)