One of the defeated candidates in the just ended October 10, 2023, Presidential election, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, is calling for the strengthening of the country’s electoral process, to protect the votes in the pending second round of polls.
Madam Nyanti of the African Liberation League (ALL) was one of the two female candidates in the just ended October polls, against 18 men contesting for the Liberian Presidency, after resigning from the UN earlier this year.
Liberians are again expected to go to polls on November 7, 2023, in a much-anticipated run-off between incumbent President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party (UP), to decide Liberia’s next president.
The two candidates, during the first round of the election on October 10 of this year, failed to obtain the majority votes (50 percent plus one) of the total votes cast, as prescribed by the Liberian Constitution.
With over 99 percent of the votes counted and tallied by the National Elections Commission (NEC), Weah of the CDC was able to accumulate 43.84 percent, a little more than Boakai’s 43.44 percent.
But the ALL Standard Bearer, in a statement issued, said, “As a political stakeholder, it’s time that I take a proactive stance in galvanizing political parties to work together to ensure that Liberia’s upcoming run-off election is peaceful and characterized by transparency, and integrity.
It can be recalled that Nyanti initiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on August 28, 2023, intended to protect and safeguard the votes of the Liberian people during the October 10 polls.
The document, signed by several political parties in Monrovia, had nine points of agreement, including the need for joint poll watching and data collation and analysis, which she said would have been critical for increasing voters’ confidence.
And taking into consideration the high number of invalid votes and numerous irregularities, madam Nyanti believes that the need to protect the voters’ efforts in Round 2 as much as they were in Round 1, can never be overemphasized.
To this end, Rev. Nyanti said she has also met opposition parties that signed the MoU, interested non-signatories, as well as the political leaders and key actors of the two parties, CDC and UP, that are into the runoff.
She maintained, “The heart of democracy lies in the sanctity and accuracy of the voting process. Every Liberian deserves the assurance that their vote, their voice, is counted without compromise.”
“This is about Liberians’ rights to choose their leader. This is a human rights agenda, and all of us need to work together to ensure that we build voters’ confidence in our electoral processes and systems, which is critical for peace and development,” she said.
Nyanti’s also disclosed that her engagements in the coming days will be with the NEC, the ECC, the Women Situation Room, as well as the international community, stressing that the more they work to prevent voter apathy, discontent, and frustrations, the more they will be working to prevent any potential conflict during and after Round 2.
She restated her recommendations to NEC to urgently convene all candidates to discuss lessons learned from Round 1 that will improve the implementation of Round 2, as well as ensuring that a full systems and performance audit of the 2023 elections is conducted to inform electoral reforms.