A group of Commonwealth observers will arrive in Sierra Leone in the week of February 26, 2018 at the invitation of the National Electoral Commission of the West African country
A group of Commonwealth observers will arrive in Sierra Leone in the week of February 26, 2018 at the invitation of the National Electoral Commission of the West African country.
The Commonwealth officials are due to observe the upcoming general election on March 7 and will work independently under the standards set out in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.
Their mandate is to observe the electoral process, including the pre-election environment, polling day, the count, and post-election period, and impartially consider any factors that could impinge on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole.
The group comprises 15 members and is chaired by former President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama.
It was constituted by Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and includes eminent persons from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Pacific with experience across the political and social spectrum, including civil society, human rights organisations, women’s and youth groups, and the media.
Sierra Leone’s current President, Ernest Bai Koroma, has served his maximum 10-year term since becoming elected in 2007.
Candidates for the presidency are from the All People’s Congress, the Coalition for Change, the National Grand Coalition, the Sierra Leone People’s Party and the Unity Party.
To be elected, a candidate must gain at least 55% of the vote; if no candidate receives this amount, there will be a second-round runoff election between the two most popular candidates.
Following the election, the group will submit a final report to the Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, who will forward the findings to the Government of Sierra Leone, the National Electoral Commission, all political parties and then the Commonwealth heads of government.
Following these proceedings, the report will then be made publicly available.