European Union Launches its Election Observation Mission to Sierra Leone

By Millicent Senava Mannah

The European Union has launched its Election Observation Mission to Sierra Leone on the 23rd May, 2023, known as the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) at Radisson Blu Conference Centre at Aberdeen in Freetown ahead of the general elections scheduled to take place on the 24th June, 2023.

It was disclosed during the event that the EU Election Observation has an established methodology for observing elections. Observers do not interfere in the electoral process and have no authority to change or correct any shortcomings. All EU election observers are bound by a strict code of conduct and ethical guidelines that guarantee their neutrality and impartiality.

The mission’s mandate is to observe all aspects of the electoral process and assess the extent to which the elections comply with the country’s laws as with regional and international standards as well as the commitments the country had made regarding democratic elections.

The EU EOM Chief Observer Ms Evin Incir, said she is honored to lead the EU Election Observation Mission to Sierra Leone. According to her, the country has an important role to play in the West African region as well as on a global scale.

‘’We, as a mission, have the mandate to observe the election process and, we will conduct our observation in a strictly impartial manner,’’ she stated.

According to her, the EU EOM will deploy 28 long-term observers to cover all the 16 districts of Sierra Leone adding that they will observe the elections preparations stage, the election campaign and the activities of electoral stakeholders.

Ms Evin Incir revealed that closer to election day 40 short-term observers will join the EU EOM to observe the voting, counting and the tabulation of the results.

She added that, a delegation of members of the European Parliament and approximately 10 locally-recruited short-term observers from the diplomatic missions of EU member States accredited to the country will also join the EU EOM to observe the Election Day proceedings.

She assured everyone that at full strength the EU EOM will comprise some 100 observers draw from 26 European Union Member States, Canada and Norway.

‘’Our aim in Sierra Leone is to support democratic consolidation. However, it is a joint responsibility of all political parties, candidates, civil society organizations, media, and the electoral administration to maintain a peaceful pre-election environment, in which fundamental rights and freedoms of all Sierra Leoneans are respected,’’ the Chief Observer stated.

Ms Evin disclosed that the EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Freetown two days after elections further disclosing that the mission will remain in Sierra Leone until completion of the electoral process and even if there is a second round of the presidential election.

‘’The mission will also follow any potential complaints and appeals process. A final report, offering recommendations for future electoral processes will be presented thereafter,’’ she said.

She noted that the EU EOM is bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict neutrality and non-interference, and how it will undertake its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, endorsed under the auspices of the UN in 2005.


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