Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Statement from NEC Chairperson

We are happy to present additional progressive results of the presidential run-off elections. I want to show appreciation for everybody’s patience. We reiterate that we are, at NEC, doing everything we can to accelerate the process while ensuring that the results presented are adequately verified.

Once again we reiterate that the Commission is committed to guaranteeing the integrity of the process. This is why, following international practice, we have instituted a number of checks and balances when entering the information on the results database. I want to rectify information today in the ‘New Vision’ and ‘Democrat’ newspapers to the effect that the NEC has now instituted new procedures for the tallying of the run-off results. This is not correct. We are proceeding with the same procedures that had been established for the tallying of the results for the 11 August election. Given the heightened tensions surrounding the run-off, the NEC decided to make a refresher presentation of the procedures as a courtesy to political parties, which were likely to have new representatives. No new procedures have been introduced. Checks and balances, in any case, are meant to detect any possible malpractice in order to safeguard the accuracy of the results. It is in everybody’s interest to be assured that there has been no manipulation of the process.

It is with regret that we report that, across the country, some polling station results forms report a higher number of votes cast than registered voters. As previously announced, the NEC will not tolerate any case of over-voting and will invalidate results as appropriate.

Today we still only have partial results, but the pace has been picking-up as expected. I think you will be pleased with the progress made so far.

Notes on results

· Today we are presenting results from all 14 districts.

· 2,324 polling station results have now been entered into the results database. This represents 37.7% of all polling stations across the country. Please note that these are very partial results, as there are still 3,833 polling stations pending

· The average national turnout is currently 72.2%.

· There are 16,938 invalid votes, representing 2.2% of total votes cast.

· Tomorrow you will have progressive cumulative results with all the new official results added to today’s total.

· While the information presented is cumulative, we must note that in some cases, results might be temporarily withdrawn because of complaints or investigations. This is the case, for example, in Bombali district, where some stations have been removed from the database in order to be further investigated. For this reason, today’s total for Bombali district is lower than yesterday’s.

· The detailed results, by station and by centre, will be posted on the NEC website immediately after this press conference: www.necsierraleone.org. Again, we encourage everyone, and particularly political parties, to cross-check these detailed results with your own copy of the polling station result sheets and come back immediately to the NEC should they find a discrepancy.