In our interim statement issued on 12 August 2007, we conveyed our initial impressions of election day. After our return from deployment in the field, we also had the opportunity of exchanging views with other observers. This has contributed towards our overall assessment of the entire electoral process in our final report, which we have now concluded.
The report will be presented to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will then convey it to the Government of Sierra Leone, the National Electoral Commission, all political parties, and other stakeholders in Sierra Leone. Thereafter it will be sent to all Commonwealth Governments prior to being made public.
This has indeed been a landmark election in the history of Sierra Leone. We depart Sierra Leone today prior to the announcement of results. We leave with the sincere hope that our call for the timely and speedy release of results will be heeded. We firmly believe this to be imperative, as this will serve to inspire greater confidence in the electoral process. In addition, we call on the people of Sierra Leone and their political parties to exercise patience and to continue to demonstrate their commitment to a violent-free election.
The group has been deeply impressed by the quality of performance of the National Electoral Commission in the election process thus far. As we depart, we wish to express our gratitude to the chairperson and staff, both in Freetown and the field, not only for the opportunity for us to observe these elections, but also for the assistance accorded to our Group during our mission. We wish the NEC well in the result tallying process. We also wish to thank the Inspector-General of Police, all political parties, civil society organisations and other observers – both domestic and international – for their briefings and support during our work.
As we also indicated in our Interim Statement, the entire process of an election cannot be perfect. We hope that our recommendations for improvement of the electoral process will be taken in the positive spirit in which they are intended.
We commend the people of Sierra Leone for their passion and commitment to the principles of democracy and a peaceful democratic process and reiterate our call upon the people of Sierra Leone to nourish the democratic will and aspirations so evident in these elections. The Commonwealth stands ready to continue to contribute towards Sierra Leone’s post-conflict reconstruction programme. We call on other international organisations to do the same.