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Secretary-General congratulates Liberians on orderly elections with high turnout

12 October 2005 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Liberians today for the peaceful and orderly manner in which they turned out to vote yesterday in their historic first post-war election after 16 years of conflict.

"The United Nations will continue to work with the Liberian people to consolidate the peace and promote democratic development, good governance and the rule of law," he said through his spokesman.

Mr. Annan said turnout among the 1.35 million registered voters was very high and the elections were monitored by some 3,533 national and 421 international observers, representing several organizations.

The main challenge was reaching some 255 inaccessible polling precincts and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which was providing major logistical and security support for the elections throughout the country, had to fly poll workers to these areas, he said. Although polling places officially closed at 6 p.m., those voters who were still standing in line at that time were allowed to vote.

The final results are expected by 26 October, the spokesman said.

In Liberia, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Alan Doss, said that while visiting polling places in Tubmanburg, Gborpolu, Kakata and across the capital, Monrovia, he witnessed elections being conducted in the complete absence of violence.

"At all polling places I visited, I was struck by the patience, the determination, and the friendliness displayed by all Liberians as they set about exercising this most precious right and responsibility," he said.

While it was not yet known which candidates would be chosen for a democratically elected Government, it was clear that "Liberian voters cast their ballots for peace and for a new Liberia," he said.

He also noted that the very successful elections were preceded by a peaceful, positive and non-violent political campaign period.

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