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Security Council applauds successful first round of Sierra Leonean polls

Security Council applauds successful first round of Sierra Leonean polls

Ambassador Pascal Gayama
The Security Council today welcomed the recent peaceful staging of the first round of Sierra Leone’s presidential and parliamentary elections and called on the country’s people to maintain their respect for independent national institutions and processes during the upcoming presidential run-off process.

In a statement to the press read out by Ambassador Pascal Gayama of the Republic of Congo, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member panel praised the “exemplary conduct” of Sierra Leoneans during the first round of the polls, held on 11 August.

Council members urged the public “to maintain the same sense of purpose, discipline and patience as the electoral process enters its final and decisive phase,” the run-off in the presidential election on 8 September between Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC) and incumbent Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The two men are vying to succeed Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

The statement called on the West African country’s political parties to continue to campaign within the code of conduct they have signed, to fully respect the independence of the National Election Commission and to resolve any dispute over the results only through legal and peaceful channels.

Mr. Gayama also commended the work of the National Election Commission and the security arrangements provided by Sierra Leonean authorities, including the national police, during the first-round of balloting, as well as the efforts of the international community, particularly those who served as election observers.

The press statement follows a similar statement earlier this month by a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who also welcomed the peaceful atmosphere of the first round of voting but cautioned that the same atmosphere must prevail during the remainder of the election process.

The vote on 11 August was Sierra Leone’s second since the end of the decade-long civil war in 2002, and the first since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in December 2005.