19 November 2012

Sierra Leone: EU Lauds Sierra Leone for Peaceful & Well-Conducted Elections

Photo: Tiggy Ridley/IRIN
A policeman uses a poster to show a woman how to mark a ballot correctly (file photo).

After successfully monitoring the just ended presidential, parliamentary and local council elections in Sierra Leone for a two month period, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has concluded in its report that the elections has generally been well-conducted, in a peaceful environment, with a high level of participation.

The statement released on 19th November and copied to AEP further states that the elections were conducive to democratic consolidation in the country, with the exception of an unequal playing field for contestants which was evident throughout the campaign period and security still remaining a key challenge as election results become known.

"I would like to congratulate the citizens of Sierra Leone, who on election day came out in large numbers to vote in a largely peaceful atmosphere, demonstrating their enthusiasm for this process and their commitment to democracy" said the Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), Mr Richard Howitt. "My hope is that the level of transparency and integrity of the elections can be maintained, so there is full confidence in and peaceful acceptance of the outcome", Howitt said.

Mrs Mariya Gabriel, head of a delegation of members of the European Parliament which joined the EU EOM three days before elections, said that "the European Parliament delegation was impressed by the active involvement of young people in the electoral process. At the same time, female participation in public life, especially in positions of leadership, remains a challenge for the country".

The EU EOM is at present observing the counting and tallying of results and will remain in the country to follow any complaints or appeals that may arise. The mission will issue its final assessment and conclusions within two months of the completion of the entire electoral process, including recommendations for future elections.

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