6 March 2018

Sierra Leone: International Election Observer Missions Make Joint Peace Call Ahead of Sierra Leone Polls

Photo: Jason Patinkin/VOA
Police hold shields following running battles with supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party in the Goderich neighborhood of Freetown.
press release

Ahead of the March 7 general elections all International Election Observer Missions (IEOMs) in Sierra Leone have tasked stakeholders to work towards a peaceful process.

A joint statement issued by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), European Union (EU), and The Carter Center in which said that they were following closely and with much interest the upcoming vote and welcomed the efforts made by the National Electoral Commission for the preparation of the polls and also welcomed the deployment of short- and long-term national and international observer missions

The statement, however, expressed concerns over the recent incidents of election-related violence and intimidation and encouraged candidates to accept the outcome of the elections in line with Article 9 of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) and, in the event of complaints or disputes.

The statement noted the efforts of the National Electoral Commission, the Political Parties Registration Commission, the Judiciary, the Office of National Security, the Sierra Leone Police, civil society, the media and other key institutions towards the conduct of peaceful and transparent elections and encouraged candidates to seek redress through legal channels.

The statement called on the political leaders, parties and their supporters to ensure peaceful elections and respect for the rule of law as they go to the polls tomorrow and through the results tallying process. Further urge them to uphold their commitments under the 'Freetown Declaration', which was signed by presidential candidates on 28 February 2018.

"The IEOMs present in Sierra Leone would like to take the opportunity to wish the citizens of Sierra Leone well in the exercise of their democratic rights; and pledge our unequivocal commitment to support the people of Sierra Leone to ensure a peaceful and credible conclusion of the electoral process.", the statement concluded.

The different IEOMs have deployed over 250 international observers across the country to follow all aspects of Election Day and some will remain to observe the tallying process and post-election period.

The presidential, parliamentary and local council election is the fourth major election since the return to multi-party democracy in 1996.

For more information, contact: Mr. Samuel Atuobi, Senior Political/Elections Officer, Department of Political Affairs, African Union Commission (AtuobiS@africa-union.org).

For interview requests, kindly contact the members of the AUEOM media contact:

Mr. Gamal Ahmed A. Karrar | Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission | E-mail: Gamalk@africa-union.org |

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GAAK

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