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Risch on Recent Elections in Sierra Leone

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on last week’s elections in Sierra Leone:

“I remain concerned with the electoral process in Sierra Leone, particularly the lack of transparency and responsiveness to the legitimate concerns of voters, candidates, political parties, observers, and international partners. The escalating harassment, defaming, and targeting of citizen observers is also unacceptable.

“If the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone is an independent body concerned solely with conducting a free, fair, transparent, and credible election, then it must release disaggregated polling station results for Sierra Leoneans and the world to see. President Maada Bio, as the announced winner and sworn-in candidate, should share in the desire for electoral transparency so that his administration can move forward without looming doubts about the legitimacy of his victory.

“The conduct of free, fair, and credible elections was critical for Sierra Leone in its journey away from deadly conflict and toward securing important opportunities for the country’s development from partners, including the United States. The United States will be watching for confidence-building measures from the electoral commission in the coming days.”