Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) has appealed to all political stakeholders, especially political parties, candidates and the media to act within the law to ensure peaceful presidential and legislative elections in the country on October 10.
“Elections are all about rule,” the NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya affirmed during a weekly Press Conference 4th October at the Commission’s headquarters in Monrovia, adding that all stakeholders should eschew spreading false information, which could erode public confidence and undermine peace and security in the country.
He appealed for non-violence, and urged recourse to the legal option for the settlement of any dispute that might arise from the polls.
Accompanied by some other NEC Commissioners, the chairman told the gathering which also included International Observers from the African Union, ECOWAS, the European Union and the U.S. National Democratic Institute, that the electoral process was on course with security in place and deployment of poll materials proceeding according to plan.
He reminded all stakeholders, especially the media that NEC is the only body authorised to announce official results of the polls, warning that the law would take its course against any infringement.
On the time-table for electioneering, the NEC boss cited the electoral law, which stipulates that all campaigning for the October 10 elections must end at mid-night on 8th October.
To avoid a potential clash between political party supporters, the chairman said the Commission was in consultations with the ruling Unity Party (UP), to allow the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), which had applied first, to campaign in Monrovia on the 7th of October. Both parties are planning their last campaign outing in Monrovia for the same day.
Regarding the recent meeting between NEC officials and the out-going President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at her Monrovia residence, the chairman explained that there was nothing untoward about the meeting, which he said was also attended by representatives of the UNDP and EU, as well as the country’s 19 Electoral Magistrates, who had a training session earlier that day in Monrovia on the up-coming elections.
The chairman said the aim of the meeting was for the President, who was to travel out of the country for the just-concluded UN General Assembly in New York, to underscore the important role of the Magistrates during the elections.
The NEC boss also took time to clear the air on the percentage of contingency ballot papers printed by the Commission for the elections, which is 3% for the presidential election and 5% for the legislative polls. He said the Commission’s decision was consistent with international best practice and the trend in Africa, where the percentage ranges between 3% and 10%, assuring that the Commission would account for all the printed ballot papers.
He also used the occasion to thank the South African government for providing NEC with some technical support including computers.
The presidential and legislative elections will take place in 2,080 Polling Precincts (Centres) with 5,390 Polling Places (Stations) across Liberia’s 15 administrative Counties.
Some 2.18 million registered voters will cast their ballots to elect the country’s 25th president from among 20 candidates – 17 sponsored by political parties and three independents, while some 980 candidates are vying for the 73 Parliamentary seats at stake.
Twenty-one ECOWAS Long-term observers have already deployed to the Counties observing the electoral processes. They will be joined on Friday by 50 Short-term observers. The 71 ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia, including Secretariat Staff of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC, is headed by Ghana’s immediate-past President John Dramani Mahama who is due in Monrovia Thursday.