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Liberia run-off: Ex-President Jonathan meets candidates

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has sued for peace and transparency in Tuesday’s presidential run-off election in Liberia.

Jonathan, who is co-leading the United States’ National Democratic Institute (NDI) International Elections Observation Mission to the country, made the appeal in Monrovia.

The former president spoke during separate meetings with the two contestants in the race – former FIFA World Football Player of the year, George Weah, and incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai.

His media adviser, Mr Ikechukwu Eze, made public the meetings in a statement on Tuesday morning.

While calling for a free and fair process in the Boxing Day poll, he advised the two presidential candidates to accept the result of the election in the interest of peace and stability in Liberia.

Weah of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP) are battling to succeed outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose constitutional two terms in office end in January.

Jonathan met with both men alongside former President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana, Hanna Tetteh, and other NDI leaders, according to Eze.

He noted that the future of Liberia depended on the outcome of the run-off, urging Weah and Boakai to advise their supporters to conduct themselves peacefully during the election.

“In any election, there are winners and losers. Only one presidential candidate will be declared winner.

“The other should accept the election results to avoid a political crisis, especially if there are no good grounds to challenge the outcome,” he was quoted as saying.

Jonathan equally called on the National Electoral Commission, security agencies and other stakeholders to be conscientious in playing their role to ensure a “peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process.’’

“The economy of Liberia will benefit immensely from a positive and peaceful outcome as a free and fair process would go a long way in reassuring investors that the country is now safe for lasting investment.

“If the election fails it means Liberia has failed, it also means that Liberia has failed West Africa and failed the entire Africa,’’ he said.

The former president noted that Nigeria and other West African nations played vital roles in stabilising the nation, urging Liberians not to do anything that could jeopardise the post-war peace in the land.

“ Although both candidates pointed out some lapses in the preparations, especially with the issue of the voter register, they, however, agreed to accept the outcome of the results.

Speaking at the meeting, Weah reportedly said he was prepared to accept the outcome of the election.

“If the Liberian people decide that the other side will have another twelve years in the Presidency, we will call and congratulate them.

“But as I said, if the election is free and fair, we are going to win. This is because we have worked so hard and our people want the change which we are offering,” he said.

Jonathan and other NDI team members also met with the chairman of NEC, Mr Jerome Korkoya, where he emphasised the need for a transparent, free and fair election.

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