The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has warned the protagonists of the recent elections in Liberia against any premature proclamation of victory and warned that it would crack down on those responsible for the violence.
Liberians voted on 10 October to choose the successor to their president, George Weah, who was the favourite for re-election, as well as their new parliament. The peaceful and regular conduct of the process and the acceptance of the results are a major challenge for these elections in a country that still has the memory of the civil wars that claimed more than 250,000 lives between 1989 and 2003.
The votes are currently being counted.
“The Ecowas Commission has been informed that certain actors are attempting to declare themselves victorious prematurely or to exert undue pressure on the National Electoral Commission (NEC)”, wrote the regional organisation, of which Liberia is a member, in a statement received on Sunday.
Ecowas congratulated the Liberians on the “peaceful” conduct of the voting. It “calls on them to continue to exercise maximum restraint while awaiting the provisional official results from the NEC”.
Ecowas “urges all Liberian actors to comply with the democratic principles of a peaceful and credible electoral process”.
It “warns all actors, including political leaders, the National Elections Commission and the Liberian security services, that Ecowas, the AU (African Union) and the international community will hold them accountable for any actions that result in violence and instability”.A second round of presidential elections is likely to take place in early November.
Ecowas, an organisation of 15 West African countries, has been facing a series of political crises since 2020, including military coups in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger.