Sierra Leone: EU Observers Say 2018 Elections 'Met International Standards'

Supporters of the ruling All Congress Party ride a truck during a rally in Port Loko, Sierra Leone

European Union Election Observation mission (EU EOM) for the March 7 general elections in Sierra Leone has said that the elections were conducted in line with 'international and regional standards.'

The EU EOM in Sierra Leone said in a preliminary statement issued on Friday, 9th March that the elections were transparent, credible and well organised amid numerous challenges.

"Sierra Leonean voters demonstrated their will to consolidate democracy in their country, they contributed to ensuring the orderly conduct of the elections and the presence of party agents and many domestic observers strengthened the overall confidence in the electoral process," said Jean Lambert, Chief Observer of the EU EOM.

Ms. Lambert stressed that voters had a genuine choice of political parties in a widened political spectrum. However, an increasing number of acts of intimidation and violence against candidates and activists affected the electoral process, she added.

"While the police played a constructive role in managing crowds at polling centres, their intervention at the main opposition party's situation room and presidential candidates home on late Wednesday afternoon was disproportionate and could have been interpreted as a provocation," she said.

Neena Gill, head of the European Parliament delegation, endorsed the preliminary statement of the EU EOM and stated that: "The European Parliament greatly values the EU's partnership with Sierra Leone."

"As the tallying continues, I call on all the parties to work together to enhance confidence and trust. In particular, it is vital that we continue to improve the participation and representation of women at all levels in the country," said Gill.

On the day of elections, 100 EU election observers reported from 400 polling stations in all sixteen geopolitical district districts. The EU EOM said their observers accessed the voting as good or very good in 95% of the polling stations and rated the closing and counting 'good' or very good in 85% of cases.

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