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Bedfordshire criminal justice expert observes election in Liberia

Prof Silverman in Liberia

Fri 5th January, 2018

An expert in criminal justice at the University of Bedfordshire helped ensure the presidential election in Liberia took place without violence.

Prof Jon Silverman from the School of Culture & Communications travelled to the country as part of an international mission to observe the second round of the presidential election.

Prof Silverman said: “Liberia went through a brutal civil war in the 1990s and there had not been a peaceful transfer of power from one president to another for more than 70 years. The potential for violence, even another fratricidal outbreak, could not be discounted if there were widespread allegations of fraud.”

Prof Silverman was deployed to the administrative region of Upper Bong, close to the border with Guinea. The task force travelled deep into the bush, through villages where massacres took place during the civil war.

“Our task was to observe and report on the polling procedures to ensure procedural fairness and transparency. Some of the voters walked for several hours from remote hamlets to vote,” said Prof Silverman, a professor of Media and Criminal Justice.

Although the turnout was lower than for the first round of elections in October last year, the winner, former star footballer, George Weah, had a convincing victory.

“The true winner, though, was democracy. The result was not contested and the country remains at peace,” said Prof Silverman.

Bedfordshire University

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