RAPAPORT… Political parties across diamond-rich Sierra Leone have underscored their commitment to holding peaceful local council elections in July at an inter-party meeting hosted by the United Nations.
The main political parties in Sierra Leone have agreed to refrain from engaging in “any activity which is detrimental to the holding of a peaceful election,” at a meeting convened yesterday by the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) in the capital Freetown.
The United Nations concluded that dialogue between the political parties was positive and the governing body commended the parties for their contributions to open dialogue.
The Sierra Leone police gave a briefing to political parties on security arrangements for the elections, and provided strong assurances of its continuing neutrality on all political issues. The police also agreed that special attention should be given to the personal security of female candidates in the local elections.
The Security Council heard in a briefing one week ago that the political and security situation in the West African nation was “generally calm,” despite several violent recent incidents involving supporters of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP.)
Dmitry Titov, the assistant secretary general of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO,) told the Council that Sierra Leone’s local council elections would be “another major step towards enhancing its democratic process,” but he warned that tensions between APC and SLPP supporters would rise in the run-up to the polls.