Flag Bearer of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), President Julius Maada Bio, has assured membership and supporters of the party that he will win the next presidential election in the first ballot.

He said so at the SLPP National Delegate Conference in Bo.

To win an election in the first round, a presidential candidate needs 55 percent of votes cast to be declared elected president. If candidates fail to hit the 55 percent benchmark, a runoff election is declared.

President Bio needs 55 percent votes to prevent a run-off election in 2023. President Ahmad Tejan Kabba and President Ernest Bai Koroma won first round elections in the history of multi-party democracy in Sierra Leone.

President Kabba was declared winner with 70. 1 percent votes in the first-round of 2002 elections while President Koroma won the first-round of 2012 elections with 58.7 percent of the votes cast. Both presidents made those records in running for their second terms.

This is the third time president Bio has been made flag bearer of SLPP. He was first elected Flag Bearer in 2011 but came out unsuccessful in the 2012 presidential polls. Nevertheless, Bio’s 2017 victory in the flag bearer race eventually took him to State House.

He became the party’s National Leader after a new constitution was adopted in 2020. He was believed to be the most popular presidential candidate in the 2018 elections he won with a simple majority.

Addressing the membership after his confirmation, the President and the Flag Bearer said he is willing and determined to keep the party in power and to win in the first ballot of the next general election, stating his intention to make the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party look

The retired Brigadier boasted of using his military tactics to defeat the notorious APC 99 tactics in the last elections.

Although he won the 2018 election in the two rounds of the votes, the president’s self-claimed ‘military tactics’ didn’t earn him the 55 percent required to prevent the 2018 run-off election.

President Bio however sounded to be conscious of party solidarity in winning elections. He called on his fellow members of SLPP to come together as a family and as a united force.

โ€œAfter these internal elections, we must come together as a family and a united force. Let put the party together so that there will be no second round in the 2023 general elections. I will not disappoint you,” he guaranteed party members.

Much of the SLPP big names that led the party in to the 2018 victory were also reelected in the convention with a comfortable majority of delegates’ votes.

Most notably, Dr. Prince Harding who nominated the President Bio to continue as the party’s flag bearer was re-elected as National Chairman with 529 votes โ€“ followed by the Deputy Minister of Justice Umaru Napoleon Koroma, re-lected Secretary General and; Deputy Internal Affairs Minister, Lahai Lawrence Leema maintained as National Public Relations Officer with clear majority votes.

The outcome of the SLPP convention in Bo is a clear sign of a party in readiness to retain power. But the President’s ambition to win 2023 election with no run-off could be the best for the party. Any second-round contest might attract a precarious battle against, perhaps, the so called COPP.