Sarjo Camara-singateh

Sierra Leaone has just concluded a hotly contested second round of voting which was able to see opposition frontrunner Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada BIO of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), elected and sworn in as the 5th President of the country. The swearing in ceremony took place at the ‘Radisson Bleu’ formerly Mammy Yoko hotel in Freetown, late Wednesday, 4th April 2018.

President Elect BIO promised to uphold the Constitution of Sierra Leone without affection or ill-will, fear or favor.

Having won the 31st March presidential run-off election with a 92 thousand vote margin against the ruling All Progessive Congress (APC) of Dr. Samura Kamara, president elect BIO received more than 1.3 million votes, equivalent to 51.81% of the votes cast against Dr. Kamara’s over 1.2 million votes, equivalent to 48.19% of the total votes cast.

President elect BIO replaces President Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC, who has completed a two term limit of five years each.

The defeated APC candidate urged his supporters to maintain peace and stability; that his party will legally challenge the poll results that gave his opponent victory.

Constitutional Mandate:

Under Sierra Leone’s Constitution, a winning candidate is sworn in once the Chief Electoral Officer certifies the results of the elections, followed by an official inauguration.

National, Regional and International Commitments:

The two political candidates on Monday in Freetown signed an agreement on the procedure for tallying of the ballots, before announcement of results of the March 31st run-off.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC), also initiated the accord which the heads of three International Observation Missions, ECOWAS, AU and Commonwealth and the UN Ssigned as witnesses.

Prof Amos Sawyer (ECOWAS), John Mahama (Commonwealth) and Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas (UNOWAS), facilitated the meeting that produced the agreement and witnessed the exchange of the signed texts by the two candidates.

Brief background:

16 candidates contested the 7th March 2018 Presidential elections which produced two front-runners. The first round showed a voter apathy where 84% voted, equivalent to 2.6 million out of the 3.17 million registered voters who cast their ballots.

The run-off which was scheduled for March 27th, was postponed due to a petition filed by a private Lawyer, which resulted in an interim injunction by a High Court order, and the preventive diplomacy initiative by heads of international observation missions, to douse the political tension and pave the way for Saturday’s run-off, which was generally peaceful, according to election observer missions.

Courtesy of Paul Ajim; Spokesperson ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) and member, ECOWAS Mission to Sierra Leone’s March 2018 General Elections.

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