EU Election Observation Mission Delivers Final Report with 21 Recommendations

By Foday Moriba Conteh

During a Press Briefing held on Tuesday 10th October, 2023 at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Aberdeen in Freetown, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Sierra Leone has unveiled its Final Report on the country’s 24 June General Elections. After conducting a thorough two-month-long nationwide election observation, the Mission presented a comprehensive analysis of the entire electoral process.

Addressing members of the Press, the Chief Observer Evin Incir, a Member of the European Parliament, emphasized that the 2023 General Elections showcased Sierra Leoneans’ unwavering commitment to democratic processes. However, she added that the report also underscored the pressing need for reforms to enhance transparency, inclusion and overall trust in future electoral processes.

She noted that as part of its Final Report, the Mission has put forth 21 recommendations aimed at improving future electoral processes. Notably, the report calls for enhanced transparency to bolster democracy. Key recommendations include making detailed information on the voter register, electoral results processing system, tabulation, and final results per polling station available to the public, including online.

Other priority recommendations encompass measures to protect candidates, swiftly hold perpetrators of election-related violence accountable, enforce restrictions on the use of State resources for political purposes, ensure transparency and accountability in campaign financing, and safeguard freedom of expression by clarifying definitions related to cybercrimes.

The EU Election Observation Mission acknowledged positive reforms undertaken to promote women’s participation in political life. Following these elections, 30% of elected members of Parliament were women. Chief Observer Evin Incir commended these reforms and urged political parties to intensify efforts to achieve greater gender parity in public and political life.

She said that the decision to establish a National Election Systems Review Committee is seen as a crucial step toward comprehensively reviewing the legal and operational aspects of elections and that the Committee’s effectiveness will hinge on its ability to facilitate an inclusive process involving stakeholders from all political parties and civil society organizations.

The Chief Observer, Evin Incir, stressed the importance of fostering democratic processes, political will among stakeholders, promoting inclusion, transparency and building public confidence. The EU expressed readiness to support Sierra Leonean stakeholders in implementing those recommendations.

The EU EOM was deployed in response to invitations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone and the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone. The mission’s presence in the country extended from 11 May to 13 July 2023, and it comprised 104 observers from 26 EU Member States, as well as partner countries, Canada and Norway. Observers were stationed in all 16 districts of Sierra Leone.


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