Liberian Presidential Election: Electoral Commission Welcomes Successful Election
Nearly 20 years after the end of the civil war, it was the first presidential election held without the help of the United Nations. The National Elections Commission (NEC) declared Joseph Boakai the winner on Monday. But before that, for several months, she worked on a just-in-time basis and managed to overcome all the difficulties.
National Electoral Commission (NEC) officials count ballots at a polling station during a runoff election between President George Weah and former Vice President Joseph Boakai in Monrovia, Liberia, Nov. 14, 2023. REUTERS - CARIELLE DOE
By: RFI Follow
With our regional correspondent, Bineta Diagne
The presidential ticket Joseph Boakai - Jeremiah Kong, of the Unity Party, is declared the winner." For Davidetta Brown-Lansana, the chairwoman of the National Elections Commission, the announcement marks the end of a long process that has been completed.
In both the first and second rounds, the election was not marred by violence. When fraud attempts were made during the count, officials of the Electoral Commission were arrested and prosecuted. Voting was even resumed in some counties, where anomalies were detected.
This year, the National Elections Commission has managed to overcome all difficulties. But according to Davidetta Brown-Lansana, the hardest part was the pressures on social media. "The major problem was disinformation and, above all, hate speech. These speeches were aimed at the electoral commission. But also the Liberians. We have to stop with that," she said.
Read alsoLiberia: Joseph Boakai, a veteran of politics, returns to power to "save the country"
« I am a victim of the 1985 election."
Added to this are budgetary and logistical constraints. It was not easy to get election materials to remote areas in the middle of the rainy season. Despite this, voting was able to start on time in all localities.
With the benefit of hindsight, Commissioner Ernestine Morgan-Awar appreciates how far we have come after two civil wars. "I am a victim of the 1985 election. My father was kidnapped. It's been 38 years. So far, my family has not heard from him. But today, I'm here as a victim and at the same time, I'm happy to see how far we've come: we're able to proclaim the results of an election. It means a lot to me. We have turned a page in our history," she says.
One of the ways in which the Electoral Commission intends to improve its voting education activities is to avoid a high number of invalid votes in the polls.
« The Power of Democracy »
And while the results were still partial on Friday night, outgoing President George Weah called his challenger to congratulate him and concede defeat. This gesture was welcomed by the international community, including ECOWAS, which closely followed the election, said Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.
In a context of turbulence for democracy in our region, this is a clear example that there is still hope for democracy in West Africa. We need inclusive elections. This will contribute to the strength of democracy.
Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security
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