Sunday, August 26, 2007

Christiana Thorpe Assures Sierra Leoneans"We will Do Everything To Ensure Run-Off Election Is Credible"

The National Electoral Commission is proud to present to the people of Sierra Leone the final certified results for the presidential and parliamentary elections that took place on 11th August 2007. The Commission takes this opportunity to again congratulate the people of Sierra Leone on their peaceful participation in the electoral process. As you know the Commission gave the opportunity to political parties and national and international observers to participate at every level in the election, from the casting of ballots on polling day to the declaration of the final results. Political party agents, the PPRC, civil society organisations and the security forces played an invaluable role this election and the Commission takes this opportunity to thank them. It is widely acknowledged that the results are credible and that the elections have been conducted in a manner which is free, fair and transparent.  

The process it not over yet. A second round in the Presidential election race will take place on Saturday, the 8th of September 2007. NEC will do everything it its power to ensure that the run-off election is also credible, and something that the People of Sierra Leone can be proud of.   

In many ways the process in this second round will be simpler, in terms of polling and counting and faster in terms of tallying and the declaration of results. Logistical requirements, however, will remain a challenge, not least of all due to time constraints and the weather. NEC is working diligently to finalise procedures, embracing lessons learned. The integrity of the process remains the primary concern and to this end we are adding security measures to ensure that no attempt to tamper with the process is successful. All irregularities will be exposed and will cause votes to be annulled. 

The Campaign period for the Presidential run-off election will start from today, Saturday the 25th of August and will end on Thursday the 6th of September at 6pm. A silent day will be observed on the 7th, prior to polling day.  

The previous contest was highly competitive, as the second round shall be. NEC appeals to political parties to again display the maturity and restraint that they showed during the first campaign period.  

It is with concern that NEC notices signs of aggressive behaviour though inflammatory statements presented in the printed media and radio, especially in relation to those attached to political parties. Such behaviour is highly regrettable and should be avoided at all costs. Baseless allegations and rumours discredit those who engage in them.  

There are currently many allegations and rumours levied against NEC staff and the National Electoral Commission as a whole. The Commission sets high standards for its staff, demanding and receiving neutrality as the primary attribute for those who work with us. We welcome any complaint with credible evidence, as such information assists us in the preservation of that neutrality. NEC has and will continue to respond positively to such complaints, investigating allegations and removing staff from their posts should any allegation be proven.  

The Commission would like to take this opportunity to thank all of its staff for their tremendous efforts and exhort all to keep the good work. We also want to thank our sister democratic Commissions for their work and support throughout the election process – we would like to highlight in particular the work of the PPRC. The Commission equally thanks the government and people of Sierra Leone for facilitating the process. We also wish to thank our international partners for their unswerving commitment to Sierra Leone. Without their assistance, in providing funding for electoral materials and equipment, and the provision of technical expertise and capacity-building activities, this election could not have taken place.  

The people of Sierra Leone voted, and clearly stated their will. Through their conduct and their actions 1,984,106 men and women in this country made a commitment to peace and a violence free election process. They voted calmly, they chose their leaders. This has been and will be highly respected by the National Electoral Commission, and must also be respected by all political parties, as committed servants of the people, be they winners or losers.  

The polling exercise on 11th August in Sierra Leone has been one which has attracted the admiration and recognition of many national and international partners. It is in the hands of the people of Sierra Leone and their political leaders to ensure the run-off election is equally successful.  

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