On November 14, Liberians voted in the run-off to elect their president for the next six years. The EU EOM observed the 2023 General Elections in Liberia, deploying 85 observers from all 27 EU Member States, Canada, and Norway.
A press conference was held on November 16 in Monrovia to present the second Preliminary Statement of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM). Deputy Chief Observer Jarek Domański highlighted that the election day was peaceful and showed organisational improvements compared to the first round. The National Elections Commission demonstrated its capacity to conduct the first fully Liberian-owned elections since the departure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
“Our 85 election observers reported from 326 polling places in rural and urban areas in all 15 counties and 63 out of 73 districts. EU EOM observers assessed the conduct of the voting process in observed polling stations as very good. Procedural irregularities were reduced in the run-off also thanks to a refresher training programme for the polling personnel organised by the National Elections Commission,” underlined Mr. Domański.
During the 20-day run-off campaign, the two candidates primarily focused on endorsements rather than issues. Social media saw increased derogatory speech, inflammatory language, and misleading content as the run-off date drew closer. Though political freedoms were largely respected, the ruling party’s use of state resources distorted the playing field.
“I appeal to both candidates and their supporters to show restraint and wait patiently for the announcement of the results. Should anyone wish to dispute them, they should do so peacefully, according to the established legal procedures”, said the Head of the Delegation of the European Parliament, Mr Leopoldo López Gil.
“A significant number of citizen and international observers continued their activities in between the rounds and on run-off election day, contributing to the transparency of the process. The EU EOM values the contribution from all stakeholders involved in the election process”, stated the Deputy Chief Observer.
The EU EOM will present its assessment of the entire electoral process against international obligations and commitments for democratic elections and the laws of Liberia in a Final Report with recommendations to the Liberian authorities and public opinion at a later stage.