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Elections A Test For Sierra Leone Reconciliation


A woman carrying a baby on her back votes in Freetown, Sierra Leone Nov. 17, 2012.

We also urge the nation’s presidential and parliamentary candidates to adhere to their country’s democratic and electoral traditions.

Voters in Sierra Leone went to the polls November 17 to elect a new president, parliament and local councils, a key test of democratic rule in a nation still emerging from the turmoil of a lengthy civil war. Political, social and economic institutions have been rebuilt after 11 years of conflict in which more than 50,000 people died, but the legacies of violence, inequality and identity politics have been harder to overcome.



The elections are the third since the fighting ended a decade ago. International observers report that the campaigns and voting have proceeded without serious incident. The United States welcomes the National Electoral Commission’s efforts to prepare the vote. This is the first postwar election run by Sierra Leonean institutions. Free, fair and peaceful elections are critical for consolidating the West African nation’s democratic and economic gains.

Now that the votes are being tallied, we call on all Sierra Leoneans to abide by the rule of law, respect human rights and respect the eventual results. We also urge the nation’s presidential and parliamentary candidates to adhere to their country’s democratic and electoral traditions, to renounce violence and incitement to violence, and to ensure that the entire election process is free, fair and transparent.

The international community will be following events in the days ahead closely. We highly value our long-standing friendship with the Sierra Leonean people. We look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure progress, sustainable economic development and lasting peace in the region.
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