At the time of this interview, Victoria Stewart-Jolley was a legal adviser for the United Nations Development Programme's Electoral Assistance Team in Sierra Leone, a position that she had held since March 2007. She worked during the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections as well as the 2008 local elections to create legal frameworks for electoral management. Prior to working in Sierra Leone, she was a lawyer for the Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan. Stewart-Jolley also worked in international criminal law in Timor-Leste, and in World Trade Organization law in Indonesia. She holds a law degree and has a background in international public law and constitutional law.
United Nations Development Programme Electoral Assistance Team, Sierra Leone
Country of Reform:
Date of Interview:
Friday, August 1, 2008
Victoria Stewart-Jolley discusses electoral management and electoral law and procedures in Sierra Leone in 2007 and 2008. She analyzes the significance of choice of electoral system, including simple plurality, proportional representation, and block representations, especially in post-conflict states; and she discusses the Constitution of Sierra Leone with regard to election law. Stewart-Jolley speaks about the process for legislating operational procedures, the various challenges faced by the National Electoral Commission in this regard, and the outcomes of these enactments. She considers the nature and functioning of the commission, and discusses the tradeoffs between independence, transparency and political concerns that an electoral management body faces. She reflects upon issues relating to resolving electoral disputes, and the repercussions of various strategies on confidence building in post-conflict countries. Stewart-Jolley also touches upon Sierra Leone’s efforts to enfranchise marginalized demographic groups, and to represent them in government. Finally, she reflects on the role that international organizations play in domestic electoral matters, and the balance that they must strike between offering advice and implementation.
Victoria Stewart-Jolley Interview
Election Management Body
enfranchising marginalized groups