Following an invitation from the Government of Sierra Leone and the National Electoral Commission, the European Union has established a mission to observe the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections in Sierra Leone, scheduled for 17 November 2012.
The EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) is led by Chief Observer Richard Howitt, a British member of the European Parliament.
The mission will comprise a total of 28 long-term observers, 50 short-term observers and 7 election analysts from the different EU member states. The observers are to be deployed throughout the country to observe the electoral process and to meet government and electoral officials, candidates and political parties, civil society representatives and the media.
The mission conducts a comprehensive analysis of the entire electoral process based on long-term observation. This analysis includes the legal framework, the work of the election administration, the role of state institutions, campaign activities, the conduct of the media, the role of civil society, voting and counting, the complaints and appeals process and the announcement of the results.
The mission will also be joined, shortly before the election-day, by a delegation from the European Parliament. Locally-recruited short-term observers (LSTOs) from EU member states’ embassies in Freetown may also join the EU EOM in the run-up to the election.
The mission is independent of any EU institution or member state. Its purpose is to offer an impartial assessment of the elections and their compliance with Sierra Leone's international and regional commitments and obligations with regard to democratic elections, as well as with Sierra Leonean law.
The EU EOM is to issue a preliminary statement shortly after Elections. A final report, with recommendations for future elections, will be published later. The members of the mission remain neutral and abide by the EU election observation code of conduct and Sierra Leonean law.