Friday, 23 August, 2019

Sierra Leone: Voters head to polls to elect new president

Sierra Leone: Voters head to polls to elect new president Sierra Leone: Voters head to polls to elect new president
Patty Aguilar | 07 March, 2018, 16:27

The Commonwealth Alumni Association of Sierra Leone in a press statement recognized that consistent with their values, they are cognizant of the tremendous benefits of peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections in any democratic state.

The observers made the appeal, according a statement issued by Mr Paul Ejime, the spokesman of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) including ECOWAS, African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth. Other missions are the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), European Union (EU), and The Carter Center (TCC).

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.

The stakeholders were further urged to uphold their commitments under the "Freetown Declaration", which was signed by presidential candidates on February 28, 2018.

With just hours to the opening of polls in Sierra Leone, the electoral commission has asked voters to reflect commitment to peace and democracy.

"In the event of complaints or disputes, we encourage candidates to seek redress through legal channels whilst at all times refraining from acts of violence and intimidation".

"We are prepared; we are committed to conduct credible elections", said Mohamed Conteh, chief commissioner of the National Election Commission (NEC), adding all electoral materials had now been distributed to polling stations.

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The missions urge the security agencies throughout the country to demonstrate professionalism and to enforce the law in a neutral and proportional manner.

Sierra Leone elections are being contested by 16 presidential candidates, including two women, and more than 700 contenders for the 144-seat unicameral parliament.

The former President who is leader of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) Observer Mission to the March 7 elections gave the advice while meeting with different stakeholders in Freetown.

Some question whether voters will lack transport to get them to polling stations in rural areas, as Sierra Leone's high court this week upheld a ban on private vehicles circulating on election day, citing national security.

Sierra Leoneans voted Wednesday in a general election to pick a new president, with many craving economic change and a boost to living standards in one of the world's poorest countries. The different IEOMs have deployed over 250 worldwide observers across the country to follow all aspects of election day and some will remain to observe the tallying process and post-election period. Sawyer-led 65-member ECOWAS Observation Mission.

The next President of Nigeria.

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