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 NEC, ECOWAS in Interactive Meeting on Elections September 20th, 2017

MONROVIA---The National Elections Commission (NEC) and the sub regional body, ECOWAS, have concluded a roundtable interactive meeting in Monrovia. The Wednesday September 20, 2017 meeting drew ambassadors and heads of mission ECOWAS in Liberia, including Cameroon, Nigeria and Guinea, and the ECOWAS long-term observation mission.

NEC’s training section chief, James Wallace, drilled the high profiled ECOWAS diplomats and election observers on the basics of the 2017 elections, as well as on the polling and counting procedures through a succinct PowerPoint presentation.

The sub regional body ECOWAS is amongst the avalanche of international observation missions in country for the 2017 presidential and representative elections, bound for October 10.

Earlier, the SRP of ECOWAS, Amb. Babatunde Ajisomo and the Amb of Guinea and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, EL Hadj Abdoulaye Dore, in separate statements, lauded the Commission for the measures that have thus far kept the entire election process peaceful.

Before giving the platform to the Chairman Korkoya to provide election updates, Amb. Ajisomo said elections, when conducted well can serve as a breeding ground for development and peace, whilst the contrary serves a recipe for crisis. He said ECOWAS is fully aware of the challenges faced by the NEC, noting that the commission alone cannot succeed without the support of other vital sectors of the government, including the security and political parties.

Amb Ajisomo also commended the Liberia National Police for their role in providing equal and unbiased protection to all parties.

For his part, NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya updated the gathering on the election process. He said in spite of the bad roads and the heavy rain, the commission is prepared to deploy election staff and materials in hard-to-reach areas of Liberia in time for the Tuesday October 10 polls.

He said the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, has assured the commission it will airlift materials in rough terrains as the south eastern part of Liberia. He said UNMIL has always been supportive to the commission.

Cllr. Korkoya also informed the ECOWAS body of the efforts of South Africa in a problem free elections, noting the country has provided the commission both hardware and software materials, including 5,000 solar lights for polling places.

The NEC chairman also updated the diplomats and observers on the NEC accreditation process of national and international observers and the media, the final voter roll, which he said has been distributed amongst political parties and given to the 19 elections magistrates throughout the country. He also spoke about the arrival of the mock ballot papers for training purposes and the tactile ballot guides for the visually impaired voters.

Minutes following the ECOWAS, NEC interactive meeting, chairman Korkoya gave further details at the NEC’s weekly press conference (elections update) at the James Flomayan Hall. He said “a total of 100,000 mock ballots for each election and 1,210 tactile ballots for training purposes are already in Liberia and being used for training purposes. The 3,053,435 presidential and 3,112,725 legislative ballot papers are scheduled to start arriving in Liberia on 23/24 September 2017. There is a five and three percent contingency included in the respective amounts in line with international best practice. 30,000 tactile ballots will also be delivered for the visually impaired.

Election material has started to arrive in Liberia. Pre-packed polling kits arrived in Liberia on the 17 September 2017 and a second batch on 19 September 2017. Polling booths arrived on 17 September 2017. Material will start to be despatched from Monrovia on 28 September 2017”.

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