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Carter Center Statement on Liberia's Tally Process and Post-Electoral Environment

Nov. 21, 2011
Contact: Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404 420 5124; Monrovia, Alexander Bick +231 (0)880 326 379

Read the full statement (PDF) >>

The Carter Center reports that the tally process for the Nov. 8 presidential run-off election was conducted transparently and in general accordance with Liberia's obligations for democratic elections. Tallying was carried out smoothly throughout the country, with greater adherence to procedures and fewer irregularities than in the first round of the elections.

At the same time, The Carter Center notes that the tally process revealed anomalous results at polling places in Grand Gedeh County. While our investigation into these anomalies was inconclusive, interviews by Carter Center observers and analysis of election results raise serious questions about the integrity and transparency of the process in Grand Gedeh. The Carter Center emphasizes that anomalies in Grand Gedeh are not of sufficient magnitude to have a material effect on the outcome of the election as a whole, as represented in the final results announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Nov. 15, 2011.

The Carter Center welcomes the NEC's decision on the Oct. 18 complaint by the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) alleging widespread fraud in the first round of the elections. Based on a series of hearings, attended by Carter Center observers, the NEC ruled that the CDC had failed to provide sufficient evidence to support its allegations. While noting that best practice calls for complaints to be adjudicated before the holding of a run-off, The Carter Center concludes that this ruling was sound based on the evidence produced and in accordance with the NEC's responsibilities to provide due process. The Carter Center calls on the NEC to resolve all remaining complaints in a timely manner.

The Carter Center regrets the criminal court's Nov. 15 decision on the closure of three media outlets in connection with the CDC rally and subsequent violence on Nov. 7. While the Liberian Constitution permits the government to restrict free speech in emergency situations, no state of emergency was declared on Nov. 7. Additionally, the trial and conviction of the media outlets failed to meet standards for due process and the rule of law. The Carter Center welcomes the court's expeditious decision to permit the media outlets to re-open and notes the government's record of respect for free speech and media freedom. However, this case raises serious questions about the government's continued commitment to these rights, which are crucial for the electoral process and key elements of a democratic society.

The Carter Center launched its election observation mission in early September and observed both rounds of the 2011 elections in all 15 counties. Carter Center observers will remain in Liberia until the end of November to report on the post-electoral environment.

The Carter Center assesses Liberia's elections against its obligations for democratic elections contained in the Constitution, the Elections Law, and other relevant parts of the legal framework, as well as its obligations under international law. The Carter Center conducts its election observation activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which was adopted at the United Nations in 2005.


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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