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In 2023, Liberians elected Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) as the next president of Liberia in a run-off election against the incumbent President Weah. Less than two percentage points separated the two frontrunners in both the October 10 general elections and the November 14 runoff elections, reflecting an even divide among Liberian citizens about which candidate and political party is best placed to address the worsening economic and security challenges in the country. The recent election marks Liberia’s second democratic transfer of power in over 70 years, and only the first time since the early 1900s that an incumbent president of Liberia has not been re-elected after serving one term. NDI first worked in Liberia to assist in voter education and election monitoring for the country’s 1997 elections and has continuously worked in Liberia since 2003. NDI has supported Liberian civil society organizations (CSOs) to conduct civic and voter education campaigns, develop coalitions and conduct advocacy campaigns, and monitor elections; trained women political leaders; supported political parties to be more inclusive and better represent citizens; and worked with legislatures to build institutional structures and engage with citizens. 

In recent years, NDI has established the framework for enhanced citizen participation in budgetary procedures and policy formulation through initiatives funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In 2021, NDI facilitated more fruitful interaction between civil society organizations (CSOs) and lawmakers in Liberia. This involved empowering CSOs in legislative advocacy, orchestrating roundtable dialogues uniting civil society representatives and lawmakers to address policy matters, organizing fact-finding missions and public hearings conducted by legislative committees, and offering technical support on policy concerns to legislative caucuses. In 2022, NDI laid the groundwork for bridging CSOs and lawmakers concerning budgetary priorities, forging connections between CSOs and the Legislative Budget Office (LBO). The current NED-funded program builds on the foundation laid by these previous programs, seeking to maintain and further strengthen civil society-legislative linkages as the new legislature, with many new legislators, begins work in 2024. 

NDI also provides technical assistance to the 2024 executive transition team members in Liberia on topics such as organizing the Office of the President and the plan for their first 100 days in office. In addition, with funding from Global Affairs Canada, NDI collaborates with the Liberian organization iLab to promote the meaningful and informed participation of citizens in democratic elections and to strengthen the ability of civil society in the West Africa region to combat disinformation and hate speech around elections.

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