By Lawrence Williams
The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) announced this evening results for parliamentary and mayoral/chairperson elections conducted on 24 June, in which the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) won with an outright majority of 60% of the parliamentary seats, while the All Peoples Congress (APC) won the remaining 40% of the 135 available seats for Ordinary Members of Parliament. Accordingly, the SLPP will have no difficulty passing bills and taking other necessary actions in the new legislature.
The results above clearly indicate that only the two parties would now make up the legislature, including 14 Paramount Chiefs representing the fourteen provincial districts in the country. Proponents of the Proportional Representation (PR) system once argued that conducting the parliamentary election using the PR system would create a space for smaller parties and independents to be represented in the new parliament but the results proved otherwise.
Further analysis of the parliamentary results shows that the SLPP won a seat in all districts except Bombali, whereas the APC did not win a single seat in Kailahun, Kenema, Bo, Bonthe and Pujehun. This means that the SLPP has gained a foothold in the APC’s north-western stronghold.
A peculiar aspect of this parliamentary election is that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) party, which finished third in the presidential election, did not win a single seat in the legislature. Furthermore, Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella’s National Grand Coalition lost badly in its Kambia stronghold where it won four seats in the 2018 parliamentary election.
The mayoral/chairperson elections indicate that both parties largely retain control of local councils in their major strongholds, with the APC winning the highly contested mayoral election for Freetown City Council once more, a trend that has been so consistent since 2004 when local councils were re-introduced.
Meanwhile, the APC has continued to reject the outcome of the polls claiming the results were skewed to favour the ruling SLPP and its presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio. In addition to that, local elections watchdog National Elections Watch (NEW), the European Union Elections Observation Mission to Sierra Leone, Carter Centre and other local and international observer groups have said there was “lack of transparency in the tabulation process” and called for publication of disaggregated data by polling stations. This concern is further reinforced in a joint statement by development partners including EU, UK, Ireland, France, Germany and the US.