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African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release on the Election Uncertainty in the Republic of Liberia

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) has been following the current situation in the Republic of Liberia, in relation to the general electionswhich were held on 10 October 2017 to elect the President and members of the House of Representatives.

The Commission welcomes the peaceful and orderly conduct of the polls on the Election Day, and commends the people of Liberia for their participation in the elections.

The Commission notes that a run-off election between the two top presidential candidates was to be held on 07 November 2017.

The Commission further notes that the second round of the presidential elections was postponed after one of the candidates challenged the results in the Supreme Court; and that in the interim the National Elections Commission of Liberia has suspended electoral activities in compliance with an order of the Supreme Court halting the process, while it investigates the alleged electoral fraud and irregularities. Accordingly, the run-off vote will not be held until the National Elections Commission’s investigations are complete.

The Commission notes that Article 50 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia establishes limits on presidential terms of office, and that it defines the timely procedures for the smooth and orderly transfer of power to a successor. In accordance with Article 50, H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s term of office will expire on 22 January 2018. The Commission therefore notes the importance of ensuring that a new president is elected before the end of President’s Sirleaf’s term.

The Commission affirms the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which the Republic of Liberia is a State Party, in particular Article 13(1) which provides that “Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.” 

In this regard, the Commission:

-        Urges the National Elections Commission to expeditiously finalise its investigations of the alleged electoral fraud and irregularities, to ensure that the run-off elections are held within the window provided by the Constitution.

-        Urges the political parties, namely the Coalition for Democratic Change, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress, All Liberian Party and the ruling Unity Party - to respect the ongoing legal process, and ensure that their supporters remain peaceful during this period.

The Commission will remain actively seized of this matter. 

Banjul, 22 November 2017