African Election Groups join National Election Watch (NEW) in demanding for publishing of polling station results

African regional citizen election observers’ networks are continuing express solidarity with the National Election Watch (NEW) of Sierra Leone in execution of its mandate post-2023 presidential elections.

NEW is demanding for polling-station-level results from the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) to allow for independent analysis and verification of the presidential results. The opposition is contesting the results.

A statement by the European Union Election Observation Mission in Sierra Leone released on June 28th 2023 is calling upon the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone to “promptly publish disaggregated results data per polling station, including a copy of results forms, which would provide for a possibility of public scrutiny of results and ensure transparency and certainty.”

Earlier on, NEW had released the results of their process and results verification for transparency (PRVT) projects which indicated that none of the two frontline candidates had achieved the constitutional threshold of 55% of the total valid votes cast.

The presidential election was held on June 24, 2023, and on June 27, 2023, the ECSL declared incumbent president Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) as winner with a share of 56% of the total valid votes. On June 27th, 2023, Maada Bio was sworn in for a second term as Sierra Leone President.

The regional observer networks that are standing in solidarity with New include: African Electon Observers Network (AfEONet), West African Election Observers Network (WAEON), West African Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS), Eastern and Horn of Africa Elections Observers Network (EHORN), and Electoral Support Network of Southern Africa (ESN-SA).

NEW is a member of WAEON and WADEMOS whilst AfEONet brings together WAEON, EHORN, and ESN-SA. The regional networks are unequivocally urging Sierra Leoneans to exercise restraint and avoid language that incites violence. Elections should be used to extend peace in Sierra Leone rather than catalysing violence.

AfEONet is calling upon the victors in Sierra Leone’s Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Council elections 2023 to be gracious in victory and desist from using a language that is belligerent, taunting, and provocative. Elections should not be a do-or-die affair, and neither should they serve as a basis for conflict.

In the same vein, AfEONet is calling upon the losers to remain calm and use the channels prescribed by law. Allow the wounds of losing a political contest to begin to heal.

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