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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberia: EU Sets Proposals for Strengthened Democracy

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The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Liberia has presented its final report, highlighting key findings and providing recommendations to strengthen democracy in Liberia. The EU has also expressed its readiness to support Liberia in implementing these recommendations.

The Chief Observer of the EU EOM, Andreas Schieder, a Member of the European Parliament, described the 2023 general elections in Liberia as an important milestone in bolstering democracy. He said the timely concession by the incumbent president after closely contested elections significantly contributed to the peaceful transition of power.

The mission identified several electoral issues in its final report that require further improvement by Liberian authorities. Out of the 22 recommendations, six were deemed a priority.

These recommendations include reviewing the legal framework to address loopholes, ambiguous provisions related to candidate registration, campaign finance, and adjudication of complaints and appeals.

Additionally, efforts to decentralize the voter registration process, increase the number of registration centers, and empower the National Elections Commission (NEC) to enforce campaign finance regulations were highlighted.

The report also called for the adoption of quotas to achieve gender equality in the legislature and for the expedient adjudication of election complaints.

Despite the challenges faced, including budget constraints, the mission commended the NEC for efficiently managing the preparations leading to successful election days.

The EU election observers positively assessed the largely peaceful and vibrant campaign, where political freedoms were respected. According to the report, the Liberian people demonstrated their commitment to democracy.

However, the EU EOM noted that the use of state resources by the incumbency and the lack of oversight of campaign finance by the NEC created an uneven playing field.

The Chief Observer emphasized that the EU Delegation and EU member states will work with Liberia’s authorities and civil society to implement the recommendations outlined in the final report.

The report is a comprehensive assessment of the entire electoral process and builds upon the preliminary findings issued by the EU EOM shortly after the presidential elections.

The EU EOM was invited by the Liberian authorities to observe the 2023 General Elections. It was present in the country from August 27 to December 10, and comprised 104 observers from 27 EU member states, as well as Canada and Norway. These observers were deployed across all 15 counties of Liberia.

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