The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has provided Sierra Leone with US$500,000 in financial support towards the June 24 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The ECOWAS Commission, also, will deploy 95 Election Observers (Long and Short-Term – LTOs/STOs) to observe the elections. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, approved the deployment of the Observers.
This is in line with provisions of Articles 12 to 14 of the 2001 regional Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance on assistance to Member States holding elections.
The ECOWAS Election Observation Mission will be led by Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a former ECOWAS Commission President and ex-Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in West Africa and the Sahel, with Amb. Ansumana Ceesay, former ECOWAS Representative in Liberia and Guinea-Bissau to serve as Deputy Head of Mission.
The Mission will be assisted by a Technical Team to be led by Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.
The deployment of the Election Observation Mission is a follow-up to the joint ECOWAS and African Union pre-election fact-finding Mission to Sierra Leone from 12th to 14th April 2023.
Fifteen Long-Term Observers (LTOs) have been deployed to Sierra Leone from 15th June, 2023. The team comprises experts in election administration, gender, conflict management, security, legal and constitutional issues, and the media.
From 20th June, the LTOs will be joined by 80 STOs drawn from the ECOWAS Permanent Representatives’ Committee, Member States’ Foreign Affairs Ministries and Electoral Management Bodies, the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, Community institutions (Parliament and Court of Justice), Civil Society Organizations, the Media, and election observers.
Thirteen candidates from 17 registered political parties are vying for the Sierra Leone presidency, including incumbent President H.E. Julius Maada Bio, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
The SLPP defeated the then-ruling All People’s Congress (APC), in the last presidential election in 2018.
Some 135 Parliamentary and 493 Local Council seats will also be in contention on 24th June.
Others seats in the spotlight of contest include the seat of the Mayor of Freetown to which APC’s Yvonne Aki-Sawyer is incumbent and SLPP’s Gento Mohammed Kamara also contesting.
The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) registered 3,374,258 voters for the 2023 elections out of an estimated population of 8.7 million. Voting will take place in 11,832 polling stations within 3,630 polling Centers across the 16 electoral districts nationwide from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.