US URGES LIBERIANS TO UPHOLD PEACE, RESPECT DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
The Embassy of the United States of America in Liberia has appealed to Liberians to remain peaceful and respect the democratic process before and after the 10 October presidential and legislative elections in the West African country.
“While this is a time to engage in vigorous debate, exchanges should be civil and should take place in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect,” the embassy said in statement issued here Friday.
The 10 October polls begin a historic process towards the first peaceful transfer of power in Liberia from one democratically-elected head of state to another since 1944.
The United States applauds Liberia’s successes in holding electoral contests in 2005, 2011, and 2014, and trusts that Liberians will continue to build on that tradition by participating responsibly at campaign events, polling places, and while awaiting results.
The statement noted that as a long-standing friend and partner, the United States encourages all Liberians to vote and participate in the democratic process – before, on and after Election Day – to shape Liberia’s future.
It said the United States government has provided technical and financial assistance to support numerous institutions and programmes to strengthen key pillars of these elections which are an important milestone in Liberia’s democratic development.
Election observers from Liberia, ECOWAS, the AU, EU, United States, other nations, international bodies, and non-governmental organizations such as the National Democratic Institute and the Carter Center will be present.
“Together, they will monitor voting in each county and contribute information that will factor into assessments of whether the elections meet international standards,” the statement indicated.
It pointed out that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and that along with an independent media; free speech is a mainstay of any democracy.
“People must be able to discuss issues freely, express their opinions, and challenge those of others. Anyone who would infringe on those freedoms should be held to account,” the embassy opined.
Similarly, it said, anyone who asserts those rights through threats, vandalism, or at the risk of public safety should also be held to account.
The US embassy applauded the political parties that have committed to peaceful campaigns in the Farmington River Declaration and other venues.
The US Embassy said it was urging all parties and candidates to reiterate to their constituents that any violence or unlawful attempts to disrupt the democratic process are unacceptable.
It assured that following the successful conclusion of the elections, the United States government will continue to work with the elected government of Liberia, as it has since Liberia declared its independence.
It added: “We have faith in the people of Liberia to continue building their country, their democracy, and their future.”
“Liberians – this is your moment. Let integrity and respect for one another, the rule of law, and your country guide citizens, candidates, and leaders of your core institutions,” the statement