Challenges and Tensions Surrounding Liberia’s General Elections

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The presidential election in Liberia presents significant challenges as nearly 2.4 million voters head to the polls on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

These general elections encompass senatorial, legislative, and presidential races, with the incumbent president, George Weah, seeking a second term. However, the prevailing circumstances do not appear to be in his favor.

This presidential contest is poised to be fiercely competitive due to the sheer number of contenders. In total, there are 20 presidential tickets vying for victory.

Among these tickets are heavyweight contenders, including Alexander Cummings, a business magnate with international experience, and the former vice president, Joseph Boakai. Additionally, President George Weah seeks re-election despite a contested track record.

Furthermore, this election appears contentious as several candidates have infused their campaigns with acrimony. “Tensions are running high, and emotions are fervent,” observes political analyst Abdul Katiamba. “Several candidates proclaim their intent to win outright in the first round.”

Abdul Katiamba added, “This could lead to conflict because if a leader has convinced their ardent supporters of a first-round victory, any results to the contrary may fuel allegations of cheating and theft. Hence, demagogues exploit this narrative to sow seeds of discord.”

Logistical Challenges

The National Elections Commission (NEC) assures that preparations are on track. However, uncertainties loom primarily due to the broader context. “We are closely monitoring the NEC’s preparations, with several issues in the backdrop,” states Andreas Schieder, the head of the European Union Election Observation Mission in Liberia.

Andreas Schieder added, “These concerns encompass the election budget and logistical challenges, particularly given the formidable obstacles posed by the rainy season and the state of infrastructure. The NEC’s substantial task has been to distribute electoral materials across the country, even in remote provinces, despite challenging conditions.”

Soukaina Sghir

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