The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) election observer mission has called on Liberian political stakeholders to remain calm and avoid premature declarations of victory as vote counting continues in the presidential runoff election.
In a statement released on Wednesday, November 15, head of the ECOWAS observer mission Professor Attahiru Jega expressed concern over "provocative statements and alleged planned conferences by political actors to prematurely declare victory."
Prof. Jega appealed to the candidates, parties and supporters to "exercise maximum restraint and patiently await the official declaration of the results" by the National Elections Commission, which is the sole body mandated to announce outcomes.
He said ECOWAS "warns individuals or groups that they would be held solely accountable for any acts that may lead to violence and undermine the hard-earned peace and stability of Liberia."
The statement co-signed by Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, Commissioner for Political Affairs and Security at the ECOWAS Commission, further noted "We urge all sides to be guided by the spirit of national unity and adhere to commitments made to ensure a peaceful process."
Early provisional results show opposition candidate Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party leading incumbent President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change, though narrow.
The final outcome may not be known for days as counting continues across the country in an election that recorded around 2.4 million voter turnouts.