Washington, DC – IRI today announced it will monitor the November 8, 2005, presidential runoff election in Liberia.  Following the voting, IRI will issue a statement on the preliminary findings of the delegation.

“As they did in October, IRI monitors will ensure help to ensure integrity in Liberia’s electoral process after eight years without elections,” said Lorne Craner, President of IRI.

IRI’s delegation will be led by Charles Twining, former ambassador to Benin, Ghana and Togo. Other delegates include Kassim Sule Afegbua, director general of the National Democratic Party of Nigeria; Robert F. Krill, retired diplomat and instructor in public diplomacy at the Foreign Service Institute; Kwesi Jonah, acting head of the Governance Center at the Institute for Economic Affairs in Ghana; Robert Lloyd, professor of International Relations at Pepperdine University and chair of the International Studies & Languages division; The Honorable Margaret Ateng Otim, member of the Ugandan parliament; Nesbit “Marty” Ryall, former chairman of the Arkansas Republican party; Jason C. Roe, chief of staff to Congressman Tom Feeney of Florida; and, David Woodruff, manager of government and industry relations for Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Once in Liberia, delegates will be briefed by Liberian political party representatives, civil society leaders, the Liberian Election Commission and local media.  They will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Liberia election law.  Delegates will identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Liberia’s election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission.  IRI staff will be led by Georges A. Fauriol, Senior Vice President of IRI and Paul Fagan, Deputy Director for IRI’s Africa division.

IRI monitored the first round of presidential voting and the legislative elections held on October 11, 2005. Delegates found the October elections to be “an important step towards finding the reconciliation and opportunity that the Liberian people deserve.”

The runoff presidential election is required by Liberian law as no candidate received an absolute majority (50 percent, plus one) of votes needed to win the October 11 presidential election.

In May 2004, IRI established an office in Liberia to provide campaign training and technical assistance to political parties to prepare them for the upcoming election.  Earlier this year, IRI fielded a pre-election assessment mission to observe the progress of voter registration and the overall environment for Liberia’s upcoming elections.

IRI has monitored more than 130 elections worldwide since 1983.

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