International observers, under the aegis of the National Democratic Institute, NDI, have given thumbs up to the just conducted elections in Liberia.
A renowned footballer, George is reported to be in the early lead so far, in the country’s presidential election.
The NDI, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group concerned with strengthening democratic institutions around the world, Tuesday issued a preliminary statement on the election, praising it as being peaceful.
“Election day was peaceful and the polls were generally well-conducted,” the NDI said in the statement.
The group’s 34-member delegation, led by a U.S Senator, Gary Peters, a former President of the Nigeria Senate, Ken Nnamani, and the Regional Director of NDI, Christopher Fomunyoh, were deployed as observers to all the15 counties in the country.
The NDI said: “The delegation was impressed by the enthusiastic participation of voters across the country, many of whom waited patiently in long lines to cast their ballots.”
The statement quoted the delegation’s co-leader, Mr. Peter, as saying, “At every polling place NDI visited, we saw voters determined to cast their vote to help shape Liberia’s future.
“It was best summed up by a voter waiting patiently in line who told me, ‘This is our day! I will wait as long as it takes.”
The NDI said polling officials were diligent and adhered to procedures. It also said that the country’s political parties recruited and deployed trained agents in nearly all polling places to observe the elections.
“The presence of party agents and citizen observers contributed significantly to peacefully safeguarding the vote.
“The campaign leading up to the polls was open and mostly free of violence, and parties and candidates expressed a commitment to a peaceful process,” the group said.
The group, however, noted some challenges like overcrowding at polling centres and also offered some recommendations that could help strengthen the democratic process in the country.
It advised the country’s election commission to “verify provisional results as they come in and release them in a timely fashion to enhance citizen confidence in the transmission and tabulation process.
“Provide polling-place level results in an easily analyzable format on NEC’s website.”
Liberia, an English-speaking West African country has about, 4 million population. Its government and constitution are modelled after the U.S.
Its current President, Ellen Sirleaf, was elected first female president of the country in 2006. She was re-elected in 2011 after a run-off.
The country has survived two civil wars and, recently, the deadly Ebola virus.