News24

UK praises Sierra Leone election run-up

2012-10-25 17:38

Freetown - Britain's ambassador to Sierra Leone on Thursday praised the country's preparedness in the run up to November 17 presidential and parliamentary elections in an interview on local radio.

"Overall progress towards the preparations for the elections have been well done," said ambassador Ian Hughes.

"By and large, the framework is now set and registration completed [for 2.7 million registered voters] and we are looking to Sierra Leone to show itself in the region as a shining beacon of democracy.

"All the parties have said that they will accept the result and we are looking forward to that happening."

The British government has provided millions of dollars in election support to its former colony which is facing a key litmus test of its stability a decade after the end of an 11-year civil war which left about 120 000 dead.

President Ernest Koroma is seeking a second term in the election, and his main challenger is opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio, a former military ruler.

UN envoy to Sierra Leone Jens Anders Toyberg Frandzen last month warned of rising tensions, particularly between the two main parties, in the run-up to the elections, condemning excessive force used by police to quell disturbances.

On Tuesday US ambassador Michael Owen said a run-off election was likely as both the ruling party and main opposition appeared to have strong support.