The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (EC-SL) has annonced that only two political parties completed Nominations for all positions in the June 2023 elections.

Albert Massaquoi, Director of External Relations at ECSL emphasized that “it is only the All People’s Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) that completely filled in candidates in all sectors for the June elections.”

According to Albert, the Proportional Representation (P.R) System requires political parties to submit double names for every allocated seat. He explained, “Freetown has 16 seats for Members of Parliament (MPs), meaning each political party should submit Thirty-Two (32) names to the EC-SL.” For the Local Council, he added, “Freetown has Forty (40) seats, and each political party must submit Eighty (80) names, including at least one woman in any 3 names submitted.”

While some political parties struggled to meet these criteria, Albert stated that the law mandates political parties to submit a completed list to the ECSL.

He clarified, “It is only the SLPP and the APC that fully completed the process all through and filled in all the required candidatures.”

Albert further disclosed that many independent candidates are running for various seats in the upcoming elections, particularly for mayor, chairperson, MP, and local council seats.

He mentioned that the petition window for local council and MP seats has already closed, and objections were only valid during the nomination process and until an hour after its completion. After that hour elapsed, petitions and objections were no longer accepted.

Regarding the presidential seat, Albert explained, “The law says after the nominations, we should gazette, and within 7 days of that gazette, petitions and objections are allowed through the Supreme Court.” However, he stated that after those 7 days, the EC-SL would not accept any more petitions or objections for the presidential seat.

Albert confirmed that nominations were completed on May 9, 2023, and the gazette was published on May 10. From May 10 to May 17, petitions and objections were allowed through the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, Albert confirmed that campaigns for the June 2023 elections would commence on May 22 and conclude on June 22.

In a related development, the ECSL issued Online Accreditation Guidelines for media, political parties, and other election observers for the June elections.

ECSL stated that the guide aimed to provide a form of identity (accreditation card) through an easy electronic means with internet connectivity.

ECSL emphasized the importance of electoral observation in enhancing transparent, credible, and accountable elections.

Accredited observers were encouraged to assess various stages of the electoral process and report on the gathered information, from voter registration to the announcement of results.

The online accreditation process involved a login interface for applicants to create their institution’s account profile and a dashboard area to access the Observers List Button and Apply button.

The Observers List Button allowed applicants to create observer records, while the Apply button facilitated the submission of batches of observer records.

The administration component of the portal reviewed and approved applications based on the content submitted.

Approved institutions were notified via email to collect their accreditation cards from the appropriate EC-SL office.