On eve of election, UN envoy appeals to Liberians to ensure peaceful poll

7 November 2011

All Liberians who wish to vote in the presidential run-off election must be able to do so freely and in safety, the top United Nations envoy to the country said on Monday as she addressed the nation on the eve of the poll.

“Regardless of your political views, I appeal to all Liberians to say no to violence on Election Day,” said Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Ms. Løj made her appeal in a radio address ahead of tomorrow's second round of voting in which the incumbent, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is set to face challenger Winston Tubman, who came second in the first round of the vote on 11 October.

However, Mr. Tubman has reportedly refused to participate in the run-off, alleging that it will not be fair, and there have been calls to boycott the poll – the second presidential election since the country emerged from war in 2005.

“To vote is an individual democratic right – it is your personal right and it is your personal choice,” stated Ms. Løj. “All Liberians who wish to exercise their right to vote should be able to do so in peace and without intimidation.

“Peaceful, credible, and transparent elections are important to ensure that the peace in Liberia is maintained,” she added.

Ahead of the poll, both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council have called on Liberians to refrain from violence and conclude the electoral process in a peaceful manner.

Ms. Løj pledged that UNMIL staff, police and military will continue to protect Liberians as they exercise their democratic rights. In addition, international observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, the Carter Center and others are there to monitor the electoral process.


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