Sierra Leone’s presidential run-off hangs in balance as court halts process

Mildred Europa Taylor March 26, 2018
People waiting to cast vote --- Kabalala

Sierra Leoneans are yet to be told if they will still be heading to the polling stations on Tuesday to choose their new president after an initial round of voting failed to produce an outright winner. The courts in Sierra Leone will soon decide if the presidential run-off can go ahead after a judge on Saturday upheld a request by a member of the ruling party for an injunction to delay the run-off poll.

Ibrahim Sorie Koroma, a lawyer and member of the ruling party All People’s Congress (APC), filed for the injunction on Thursday, arguing that allegations of electoral fraud should be investigated before the vote takes place. The court’s order stops the National Electoral Commission (NEC) from proceeding with the vote until the hearing and determination, adjourning the matter until Monday, March 26, 2018.

The NEC had earlier stated that it will go ahead with the polls but later indicated it would temporarily cease all logistical preparations until the matter returned to court.

Sierra Leone in its run-off vote will choose the country’s next president after none of the frontrunners was able to secure an absolute majority in the first round. Julius Maada Bio, a former military coup leader won the first round of the presidential election with 43.3 percent of votes. This was short of the 55% he needed to avoid a run-off.
Samura Kamara of the incumbent All Peoples Congress (APC) took 42.7 percent, the election commission announced. The two would now face each other in the run-off election.

The country’s current president Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping aside after his maximum two terms in office. His office had been riddled by an economic crisis caused by a collapse in iron ore prices, an Ebola epidemic in 2014 and last year’s mudslide in the capital Freetown that killed 500 people.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 19, 2018


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