ABUJA, NIGERIA – The Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) has announced that it has approved the deployment of 15 Long-term Election Observers to monitor key stages in Liberia’s electoral process leading up to the country’s general and presidential elections next month.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray recently approved the deployment, which is consistent with provisions of Articles 12 to 14 of the 2001 ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance on assistance to Member States holding elections.
A statement released earlier this week by the regional political and economic group of 15 countries disclosed that the Long-term Observation Mission (LTOM), headed by Mr. Serigne Mamadou KA, Ag. Head of the Electoral Assistance Division comprises experts in election administration, gender and civil society, constitutional law, security, and the media.
The ECOWAS observer mission is expected to be in Liberia until five days following polling day on 10 October 2023, to observe the electoral processes and also serve as an early warning mechanism for preventive diplomacy.
During the ECOWAS Election Observers’ stay in the country, the regional body’s electoral experts will hold working sessions with various stakeholders, including Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC), government, civil society organizations, the media, security agencies, as well as political parties and candidates, toward ensuring a smooth electoral process.
Some 2,471,617 registered voters among Liberia’s estimated population of 5.4 million are poised to elect Liberia’s new President, 15 senators, and 73) members of the country’s House of Representatives.
Incumbent President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is seeking re-election for a second term.
He faces 19 other candidates, including former Vice-President Joseph Boakai of the main opposition Unity Party and Alexander Cummings of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
Meanwhile, it is expected that by 3 October 2023, the ECOWAS 15 Long-term election observer mission would be reinforced by 80 other Short-Term Election Observers to be drawn from the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, ECOWAS Parliament, and Community Court of Justice, member States’ foreign ministries, electoral management bodies, as well as civil society organizations.
The ECOWAS combined observation mission, to be led by Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, will be deployed across Liberia’s 15 political sub-divisions including the capital, Monrovia.
The ECOWAS observer mission will issue a Preliminary Declaration within 48 hours at the close of polls on 10 October, to be followed by a detailed Final Report on its observations.