ECOWAS Team Outlines Observations on Senatorial Election

first_imgThe ECOWAS Observer Mission in Liberia for the just-ended senatorial election has outlined some challenges it observed during the conduct of the election.Among the challenges encountered on Election Day, ECOWAS Mission headed by Leopold A. J. Ouedraogo indicated that there was an absence of adequate logistics such as suitable tables and chairs for electoral officials in some of the polling centers.Poor lighting arrangements in almost all the polling stations and the absence of a display of registered voters’ lists in some of the polling centers were also some of the drawbacks that characterized the election.The ECOWAS team noted that there was an absence of security officials in a number of voting precincts, particularly in more sensitive areas.With the presence of Ebola still felt in Liberia, the observer team also noticed that there was noncompliance with health protocol relating to prevention of the EVD in some polling centers.The report further indicated that some of the polling centers delayed in starting the voting process on schedule due to the absence of logistics.However, the ECOWAS Observer Mission in its report highlighted the “Best practices” it recorded during the voting process.Among some of the best practices were the easy location of polling stations, adequate guidelines on measures put in place to prevent the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and voting process conducted meticulously, transparently and professionally by the electoral officials, who demonstrated adequate knowledge of their roles, and in the effective presence of political parties and independent candidates’ agents.The report further indicates that the positioning of the polling booths guaranteed the privacy of the ballot, while the presence of the media in some of the polling stations gave credence to the election.In its concluding statement on the electoral process, ECOWAS said the insignificant shortcomings did not prevent the free expression by the citizens of their right to vote; therefore, the West African observer mission considers the Special Senatorial elections of December 20 to be free, fair, credible and transparent.In the midst of the shortcomings mentioned earlier, the ECOWAS mission urged the National Election (NEC) to announce the provisional results within the stipulated time limit.It also called on candidates and their supporters to comply with current procedures and the rule of law.  It further exhorts particularly all candidates and supporters to comply with democratic rules and to resort to exclusively legal means of seeking redress for any grievance emanating from the electoral process.Among some of its recommendations, the ECOWAS Observer Mission called on NEC to ensure continuous training of Electoral officials and party agents as well as initiate civic education campaigns for the populations in cooperation with civil society.Additionally, the commission urged NEC to provide adequate logistical preparation and structure for the upcoming general elections in 2017, and to ensure that security officials play their role during the electoral process, especially of preventing crisis at the level of the voting precinct.It expressed satisfaction over the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed during the polling operations and welcomed the absence of violence displayed by the voters and party agents.The mission also expressed profound gratitude to the people and Government of Liberia and especially to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her “Commitment to a peaceful democratic process” amid the public health crisis.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rangers Beat Pens in OT, 3-2

first_imgPITTSBURGH — The best line on hockey’s busiest team hardly looked gassed.The way Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot were furiously pouring in overtime goals, the New York Rangers didn’t exactly look like a group in need of a day off.Brassard beat Marc-Andre Fleury 3:06 into overtime — with Pouliot bizarrely doing the same seven seconds later — and the Rangers stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on May 2.The winner officially went to Brassard, whose wrist shot from in front beat Fleury cleanly but caromed back onto the ice. Referee Steve Kozari waved it off, however, and play continued before Pouliot slammed the puck into a wide open net moments later for good measure.“I found out way later (Brassard) got the goal,” Pouliot said. “Good for him. We’ve been playing well against Philly and now tonight. We deserved that.”Pouliot and Brad Richards gave the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots and stuffed a late Pittsburgh breakaway in the final seconds of regulation. The line of Pouliot, Brassard and Mats Zuccarello combined for 14 points in New York’s four regular-season meetings with the Penguins.They were the best trio on the ice on a team barely 48 hours removed from a wearying seven-game victory over Philadelphia in the opening round.“Since Christmas they’ve probably been our most consistent line,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “They’ve got real good chemistry. They read off one another and support one another well and … they scored two in overtime.”Lee Stempniak and James Neal scored for the Penguins. Fleury made 24 saves but was helpless on the winner. “It was just a big pile of guys and I was trying to find the puck out of it,” Fleury said.Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby was held without a goal for the 12th straight playoff game as the Rangers took away much of the open ice where Crosby likes to operate.“It could’ve went either way,” Crosby said. “I don’t think we played a full 60 (minutes).”Not exactly.The Rangers were supposed to be exhausted after outlasting the Flyers in the opening round, not advancing until a 2-1 victory in Game 7 on April 30. Instead, it was the well-rested Penguins who appeared to need a nap.Pouliot gave New York the lead 5:04 into first period, capitalizing on a Pittsburgh turnover then splitting Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta and Matt Niskanen before firing a wrist shot that caromed off Fleury’s right arm and into the net.Richards doubled the lead late in the period with his third and easiest goal of the postseason. Carl Hagelin beat Maatta to a puck in the corner and fed it to Richards, who had enough time in front to go from his backhand to his forehand and flip the puck by an overmatched Fleury.Whatever sluggishness the Penguins felt after a three-day layoff vanished in the second.Stempniak cut the lead in half by taking a nice drop pass from Beau Bennett then streaking down the middle and beating Lundqvist with a backhand 7:15 into the period.Neal tied it just over 6 minutes later thanks to a rare mistake by Lundqvist, who deflected Neal’s into the air then had it glance off his back and into the net. Lundqvist pleaded with officials that Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin had interfered with him while trying to make the save, but replays showed Malkin’s high-stick swat didn’t come close to touching the puck.New York gathered itself before the third and the teams traded chances over the final 20 minutes of regulation with Lundqvist stopping a slap shot from Stempniak in the final 15 seconds to send it to overtime.Whatever adrenaline the Rangers had left fueled them during the brief extra period. New York dominated play before the madcap finish to beat the Penguins in Game 1 of a postseason series for the first time.The Penguins came in 4-0 in the playoff series against New York. Now the Rangers find themselves in control with a welcome day off before the May 4 rematch.“Yeah we played seven games and the seventh one was a grueling match but I think most of us have been through it,” Pouliot said. “It’s the NHL and you have to find a way and we did.”(WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more