NEW is concerned about the date for the closure of parliament. In a strategic management meeting in Freetown, bringing together representation from a coalition of civil society groups, NEW has observed tension rising around the issue of the life of parliament and its effect for a peaceful and legitimate electoral process.
NEW observes that the date being considered gives a very short time to several other critical processes in the elections calendar, which can exacerbate political tension especially during the highly competitive campaigning period, less than one month before the election. NEW is concerned that this will not leave adequate time for a significant voter education process including ensuring the manifestos of the eight registered parties are shared nationally.
This could also result in pushing back the scheduled election date to August, with consequences of worsening weather conditions, as well as the vacuum in leadership as the President’s mandate ends on August 15, 2007.
NEW urges all stakeholders to ensure that there is adequate time for the National Electoral Commission to complete their work to make certain that we have a peaceful election. NEW calls on stakeholders to pursue dialogue on this issue and work towards a resolution that is in the interest of the nation.
The National Election Watch (NEW), a domestic coalition of civic and professional groups as well as international and local NGOs, is focusing on civil society oversight of the national electoral process. NEW has been observing the national electoral process implemented by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), holding six national meetings and issuing press statements and reports to validate NEC’s processes to ensure the process is a free one.