Monrovia, Liberia (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President James Victor Gbeho has commended Liberians for their high sense of patriotism by exercising their constitutional right during Tuesday's presidential run-off, which was boycotted by the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
“It is obvious that people turned out to vote despite the disruption on the eve of the balloting. Obviously not as high as in the first round of 11 October 2011, but that was also partly because the first round had involved 16 presidential contenders and candidates for Senatorial and National House of Representatives seats,” an ECOWAS Commission statement quoted the President as saying.
CDC's call on its members to boycott the presidential run-off resulted in a street violence around the party headquarters on Monday, which left at least one person dead and many others injured.
The ECOWAS Commission President described Monday’s incident as “regrettable and disappointing,” noting that election boycott had never provided a viable solution to political disagreement.
“At the end of the day, Liberians have spoken with their ballots and we will hear their voice in the result of the polls,” he added.
President Gbeho reiterated ECOWAS’ commitment to working with partners to raise the level of political education and advocacy in the region, to ensure that political leaders recognised “there is life after losing an election and that in every election there must be a winner and a loser.”
On his part, the head of the ECOWAS 200-member Election Observation Mission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, commended Liberians for their orderly and peaceful conduct on Tuesday.
“No doubt, the disruption of Monday might have created some apprehension, but as the day went by more people turned out to vote and we saw a determination and commitment of Liberian voters to exercise their constitutional right,” Prof. Jega said.
According to Liberia’s National Elections Commission, the first round ballot produced no outright winner and, in accordance with country’s constitutional provisions, the run-off was to have been between the two frontrunners – incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the CDC flag-bearer Winston Tubman.
But on the eve of the poll, the CDC leadership called on the party supporters to boycott the exercise, alleging fraud in the electoral process.
The ECOWAS Observation Mission was billed to issue a Preliminary Declaration on the presidential run-off later Wednesday (8 November).
-0- PANA SEG 9Nov2011