6 March 2018

Sierra Leone: Carter Center Deploys Expert Mission to Assess Sierra Leone's Election Process

Photo: J. Patinkin/VOA
Supporters of the ruling All Congress Party ride a truck during a rally in Port Loko, Sierra Leone

The Carter Center has deployed a team of electoral experts to assess the process surrounding Sierra Leone's March 7 presidential, parliamentary, and local elections.

According to a release from the observer mission, the expert mission would be limited in scope, focusing on the legal framework, pre-electoral dynamics, campaign environment, and electoral dispute resolution.

The mission will place specific focus on judicial review of election-related cases, violence prevention initiatives, and the influence of public debates and social media on the electorate.

The release noted that the Carter Center established its presence in Freetown in mid-January, and that the team has met with representatives of the National Electoral Commission, political parties, civil society organisations, the international community, citizen election observers, and other interlocutors to assess electoral preparations and the pre-electoral environment.

"Sierra Leone has made important progress since the civil war," said Field Office Director Larry Garber. "These elections represent an important test of the willingness of all parties to abide by the rules of the game and an opportunity for the international community to learn from Sierra Leone's experience in responding to specific electoral challenges.

"We support the recent call by the Economic Community of West African States, African Union, United Nations, and the European Union on political parties, their supporters, and other electoral actors to enable peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections."

The Carter Center's expert mission is the Center's third in Sierra Leone, having also deployed missions for the 2002 and 2012 elections following an invitation from the government of Sierra Leone, and has been accredited by the National Election Commission to observe the polls.

The Center conducts election observation activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and endorsed by more than fifty election observation groups. The Center assesses electoral processes based on the host country's national legal framework and its obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements.

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