As Liberians vote for new president UN urges peaceful credible election

8 November 2011The United Nations has deplored the loss of life that occurred during election-related violence in the Liberian capital yesterday, and called on everyone to exercise restraint and ensure that peace is maintained. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has confirmed two deaths during the violence that occurred at the headquarters in Monrovia of the Congress for Democratic Change party. UN Police were sent to the location and an UNMIL helicopter was dispatched to patrol the area.“At this time the investigations are still ongoing to ascertain the circumstances of the incident,” UNMIL spokesperson Yasmina Bouziane said in a statement. “The situation has returned to calm, but we are monitoring the situation as it goes…“The Mission deplores the loss of life and calls on all parties, supporters and all Liberians to exercise maximum restraint and not resort to violent acts to ensure that peace is maintained and preserved in Liberia,” she added. The Mission said it is in contact with the relevant authorities to prevent any escalation of the situation.Liberians are voting today in the presidential run-off pitting incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president, against challenger Winston Tubman of the Congress for Democratic Change, who came second in the first round of the vote on 11 October.However, Mr. Tubman has reportedly refused to participate in the second round of voting, 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.UN officials and the Security Council have in recent days called on Liberians to refrain from violence and conclude the electoral process in a peaceful manner. In a radio address to the nation yesterday, Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMIL, stressed that all Liberians who wish to vote in the run-off must be able to do so freely and in safety.

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