SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL, LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS IN LIBERIA

30 July 1997
SC/6402

SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL, LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS IN LIBERIA

30 July 1997

Press ReleaseSC/6402

SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL, LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS IN LIBERIA

19970730 Through Presidential Statement, Council Urges Parties To Abide by Election Results, Cooperate in Forming New Government

Welcoming the successful holding of presidential and legislative elections in Liberia on 19 July, the Security Council this afternoon called upon all parties to abide by the results and cooperate in the formation of a new government. It also called upon the new government to protect the democratic system and to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms under the rule of law.

Through a statement read out by its President, Peter Osvald (Sweden), the Council noted with satisfaction the Joint Certification Statement by the Secretary-General along with the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which declares that the electoral process was free, fair and credible, and that its outcome reflected the will of the Liberian voters.

Expressing the hope that the elections will encourage refugees to return to their country, the Council called upon the new government to fulfil its international humanitarian law obligations regarding such returnees. Describing the elections as a critical step towards economic development, it urged the international community to continue supporting Liberia through its reconstruction period.

The Council welcomed the goodwill and cooperation shown by the parties in the elections, which provided a strong foundation for the Liberian people to achieve a durable peace, the re-establishment of constitutional government and a return to the rule of law. It commended the role played by international personnel in the elections which, it noted, marks the fulfilment of a key element of mandate the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia.

Text of Statement

The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1997/41, reads as follows:

"The Security Council welcomes the successful holding of presidential and legislative elections in Liberia on 19 July 1997. The Council notes with satisfaction the letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council (S/1997/581) and the declaration in the Joint Certification Statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that the electoral process was free, fair, and credible, and that the outcome of the elections reflects the will of the Liberian voters.

"The Security Council calls upon all parties to abide by the results of the elections and to cooperate in the formation of a new government. The Council also calls upon the new government to protect the democratic system and to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms under the rule of law.

"The Security Council congratulates the people of Liberia on the courage and determination they have shown in proceeding with the elections under difficult circumstances. The Council commends all international personnel, especially those of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) and the Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) of ECOWAS, who contributed to the successful holding of elections.

"The Security Council welcomes the goodwill and cooperation demonstrated by the parties in the electoral process, which provides a strong foundation for the people of Liberia to achieve a durable peace, the re-establishment of constitutional government, and a return to the rule of law. The Council expresses the hope that the successful holding of elections will encourage refugees to exercise their right of return and calls upon the new government to fulfil its obligations under international law regarding returning refugees.

"The Security Council notes that the successful holding of elections represents a critical step towards economic development. The Council urges the international community to continue to provide support and assistance to Liberia through this period of reconstruction.

"The Security Council further notes that the successful conclusion of the electoral process marks the fulfilment of a key element of the UNOMIL mandate.

"The Security Council will remain seized of the matter."

The meeting, which was called to order at 12:26 p.m., was adjourned at 12:32 p.m.

Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6402 3805th Meeting (PM) 30 July 1997

Joint Certification Statement

In considering the situation in Liberia, the Council had before it a letter from the Secretary-General (document S/1997/581), transmitting the Joint Certification Statement by the Secretary-General along with the Chairman of ECOWAS. In it, they declare that "the electoral process, which culminated in the final announcement of the results on 24 July 1997, was free, fair and credible".

In his letter, the Secretary-General says that over 750,000 voters, including many returning refugees, were registered for the elections. The political parties campaigned across the country, in a generally civil and peaceful atmosphere, with the ECOMOG providing security. The voting was verified by over 500 international electoral observers, including 317 observers from UNOMIL. The UNOMIL observers visited over 1,500 of the 1,864 polling stations and reported that polling was conducted in an organized and efficient manner, without reports of violence or intimidation. Voter turnout was high and voters conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner. There were no reports of major irregularities or of circumstances that could have affected the outcome or credibility of the voting. It was apparent that all eligible Liberians had a fair opportunity to vote for the political party of their choice. Official results showed that Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Party had received an absolute majority of votes cast, making a second round of voting unnecessary.

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For information media. Not an official record.