ECOWAS Deploys for Runoff -Says Long Term Observers Comprises Experts

MONROVIA: In order to continue following the critical stages of the Liberian 2023 Presidential Election Runoff, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has deployed a team of long-term electoral observers (LTO) in several counties of Liberia since the 7th November, 2023, a release by ECOWAS has said.

The latest deployment by ECOWAS is apparently to monitor and observe the conduct of the race to the Executive Mansion between the President-in-Office, George Weah, who is seeking a second six-year term having won round-one with 804,087 votes, or 43.83 percent, and former Vice President Joseph Boakai, who finished second with 796,961 votes, or 43.44 percent are standing as the only the two candidates running for the Runoff on 14 November 2023 in Liberia.

Made up of experts in Elections Administration, Political Affairs, Gender and Civil Society, Constitutional Law, Security and the Media, the Long Term Observers (LTOs) who were deployed in the country from 11th September to 18th October for the October 10 polls will continue their assignment as an early warning mechanism for preventive diplomacy, the release further said.

ECOWAS averred in the release that the long-term electoral experts will be reinforced from 9 November 2023, by 80 of their short-term colleagues from the ECOWAS Council of Wise Men, the CEDEAO Parliament, and the Community Court of Justice as well as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of ECOWAS’ Member States, electoral management bodies and civil society organizations.

As in the first round, the regional body asserts in their release, Professor Attahiru Jega, former president of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will lead the ECOWAS observation mission (EOM) for the second round of the Liberian elections.      ECOWAS further noted that the deployment of the LTO for the runoff, which has been approved by Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, was made under the provisions of Articles 12 to 14 of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 2001, as assistance to Member States holding elections.

The Economic Community of West African States was established when the ECOWAS Treaty was signed by 15 West African Heads of State and Governments on the 28th of May 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria.

The ECOWAS region, the release established, spans an area of 5.2 million square kilometers with its member states as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

Considered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, the release explained that ECOWAS was set up to promote co-operation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic union in West Africa to raise the living standards of its peoples, and to maintain and enhance economic stability, foster relations-among Member States and contribute to the progress and development of the African continent.

“ECOWAS is implementing critical and strategic programs that will deepen cohesion and progressively eliminate identified barriers to full integration. In this way, the estimated 300 million citizens of the community can ultimately take ownership for the realization of the new vision of moving from an ECOWAS of States to an ‘ECOWAS of the People: Peace and Prosperity to All’ by 2050,” the release concluded.

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