Monday, August 13, 2007

Statement from NEC Chairperson

‘Voting completed across Sierra Leone’

Freetown, 11 August 2007, 19.30: Voting in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections finished on time at the vast majority of polling centres across Sierra Leone this evening, concluding a successful and largely peaceful polling process.

It is reported that as of 7.00 p.m., all centres in Sierra Leone have closed and have commenced counting. All voters in line at 5.00 p.m. were able to cast their ballots.

The last polling centre to open in the country today was 09231 in Kenema Blanga in Bo District. It opened its doors at 4:30 p.m. due to the loss of the empty ballot boxes into a river earlier in the day on their way to the polling centre. The boxes were replaced and voting continued until close.

Polling centre 14063 in Congress Secondary School, Kissy Mess Mess, Freetown suspended all voting at approximately 3.00 p.m. this afternoon following a decision by the Sierra Leone Police present due to crowd disturbances. The NEC is currently investigating this situation and will provide an update as soon as possible.

The NEC and the Sierra Leonean Police are responding to a small number of violent incidences in Freetown. After polls have closed in Western Area, groups of young people began to congregate on polling stations, disrupting the atmosphere for the counting process. Armed security has now been provided to all polling stations in this area so that counting can continue.

I would like to appeal to political parties to strongly encourage their young supporters to continue to respect the peaceful atmosphere that has prevailed today during polling, and to allow the Electoral Commission to continue the counting process so that we can have a speedy announcement of the results.

Christiana Thorpe, NEC Chairperson