The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (EC-SL) has signed a declaration on ‘free, fair and non-violent elections’, with the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), the All People’s Congress (APC) Party and other stakeholders.
The MoU was named the ‘York Declaration’ because it was signed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Sierra Leone Bar in York village.
The York Declaration, which has been an initiative of the Sierra Leone Bar Association to promote free, fair and non-violent elections on 24th June, is the first major declaration to be signed by key stakeholders, mirroring the June 24th elections this year.
The Declaration contains as follows: “Whereas, the Sierra Leone Bar Association convenes its 2023 AGM at the Fabulous Resort, York village, in the Western Area Rural District of the Republic of Sierra Leone from 17–18th March 2023 with the theme: ‘Promoting Free, Fair and Non-Violent Multi-tier Elections on 24th June, 2023’.
“Reaffirming that the authority to govern shall be based on the will of the people as expressed in periodic elections.
“Acknowledging the fundamental principles relating to free and fair elections including the right of citizens to freely choose their leaders and representatives, to vote in such elections by secret ballot, and to put forward political views, individually or in association with others.
“Recognising that the holding of free, fair and non-violent multi-tier elections reaffirms Sierra Leone’s commitment to deepening democracy and peace consolidation.
“We hereby declare as follows: To promote and support free, fair and non-violent multi-tier elections on 24th June 2023”.
Commenting on the significance of the York Declaration, the President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, Michaela E. Swallow stated that the signing of the York Declaration demonstrates the commitment of the stakeholders in promoting free, fair and non-violent elections.
“It is our hope that such a declaration will serve as a constant reminder of our collective determination to promote free, fair and non-violent elections”. Michaela Swallow stated.