Julius Maada Bio has secured his re-election as Sierra Leone’s president, winning 56.17% of the vote in the first round, surpassing his main rival, Samura Kamara, who garnered 41.16%, as reported by the Electoral Commission. However, both the opposition and a coalition of local observers are disputing these figures, claiming that a second round should have been held since none of the main candidates reached the required 55% threshold.
The coalition of local observers released a report asserting that Bio received around 50% of the votes, while Kamara obtained 46%, challenging the Electoral Commission’s announcement.
The ruling SLPP party has accused the coalition, named the National Elections Watch, of being biased towards the opposition. Despite the controversy surrounding the Electoral Commission’s figures, Julius Maada Bio was sworn in as president following the announcement.
In Sierra Leone, the law allows for appeals to the Supreme Court to contest election results. Samura Kamara, the opposition candidate, took to Twitter to denounce what he called “a frontal attack on our young democracy,” rejecting the presidential figures in their entirety. The APC party now has a seven-day window to appeal to the Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide whether to validate the results. Should the court support the local observers and the opposition, new elections may need to be organized in the coming weeks.
The appeal process holds the key to resolving the election dispute and determining its implications for Sierra Leone’s political landscape. With the opposing sides at odds and the Supreme Court’s final decision pending, the nation anticipates the outcome that will shape its democratic path forward.