The European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sierra Leone to observe the general elections scheduled for 7 March.
The EOM Core Team of nine EU election analysts arrived in Freetown on 25 January, and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process to prepare a comprehensive assessment.
Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission appointed Ms. Jean Lambert, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer.
“The elections of 7 March 2008 are a milestone for the democratic process of Sierra Leone. It’s a great opportunity for the government, the National Election Commission and political parties to foster transparent, credible and peaceful election” Federica Mogherini said.
She added that this year’s general elections are very competitive and the rule of law should prevail.
This is the fourth time the European Union is observing general elections in Sierra Leone which reflects its long-term commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.
“The forthcoming general elections will be another defining moment in the country’s democratic process as a peaceful transition of power will take place for the second time after the end of the civil war”, Ms Lambert said.
She added that Sierra Leone has achieved progress in terms of democratization and governance since the end of the civil war, and this election should further consolidate stable democratic institutions.
The deployment of an EU EOM aims to contribute to enhancing the transparency of the process, the respect for fundamental freedoms and will submit to the consideration of the authorities a set of recommendations to further improve the election framework for future elections.
In early March, additional 40 short-term observers will be deployed across the country. A delegation of the European Parliament and diplomats from EU Member States will also reinforce the mission on election day.