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Key findings
  • An overwhelming majority (92%) of Liberians support elections as the best way to choose their leaders.
  • About six in 10 (59%) say Liberia needs many political parties to ensure that voters have a real choice, a 9-percentage-point rebound from 2020.
  • Majorities say elections do not work well to ensure that members of the House of Representatives (61%) and senators (60%) reflect the views of voters. But more than half (55%) say elections do enable voters to remove from office leaders who do not do what the people want.
  • In general (not regarding the 2023 election), seven in 10 citizens (71%) say it is better if power sometimes changes hands in elections from one political party to another rather than having one party continuously govern the country. o More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents say that once an election is over, the losing side should accept defeat and cooperate with the government to help it develop the country, rather than focus on monitoring and criticising the government to hold it accountable.
  • Most citizens (85%) say the last national election, in 2017, was generally free and fair.
  • About one in five citizens (21%) say they feared intimidation or violence during the 2017 election, and one-fourth (25%) consider it likely that powerful people can find out how they vote.
  • Only 34% of Liberians say they trust the National Elections Commission (NEC) “somewhat” or “a lot,” while about two-thirds (65%) express “just a little” or no trust at all in the election-management body. o Trust in the NEC has declined by 10 percentage points since 2018.

Liberians will head to the polls on 10 October 2023 to elect a president, 15 senators, and 73 members of the House of Representatives. This will mark the fourth cycle of presidential and legislative elections since the end of the country’s devastating civil war in 2003. The National Elections Commission (NEC) has granted accreditation to 1,030 individuals to vie for the 88 seats in the National Legislature (National Elections Commission, 2023a, b). 

Incumbent President George Weah is seeking a second six-year term (Africanews, 2023).  Among the 19 other candidates competing for the same position, only two are women, even though women comprise 50% of registered voters (National Elections Commission, 2023c, d). 

While the election promises to be competitive, the campaign has been largely peaceful.  Most political parties have signed the Farmington River Declaration 2023 committing to a nonviolent electoral process as the country seeks to strengthen its fragile democracy through peaceful, inclusive, free, fair, and transparent elections (United Nations, 2023).  

The most recent Afrobarometer survey findings show that Liberians overwhelmingly support elections as the best way to choose their leaders even though a majority don’t think they ensure that their views will be represented. Most citizens describe the last presidential election as generally free and fair, but few trust the institution responsible for ensuring a high quality election. 

Oscar Bloh

Oscar is the Executive Director of the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG).

Maame Akua Amoah Twum

Maame is the communications coordinator for North and Anglophone West Africa at Afrobarometer