The Director of External Relations at the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL), Albert Massaquoi has clarified the position of nominations and petitions ahead of the June 2023 polls.

Speaking on Egbakoh TV said nominations have now been completed for all parties in the various categories of election.

He said the Proportional Representation (PR) System mandates political parties to fill in double the required number of seats.

“APC and SLPP fill in candidates in all (seats),” Massaquoi said. He added that some other parties were able to fill in candidates for about 50 percent while others fill in only 25 percent of seats.

He clarified that the PR system has no bye election and drew reference to Freetown which has 16 seats for the legislature and 40 local council seats.

“This means that each political party contesting must submit 32 names (for parliamentary election) and 80 names for local council since there are 40 seats available,” he said.

Massaquoi also clarified the need to include at least one woman for any 3 seats while stressing that it is only the incumbent SLPP and main opposition that met the said criteria.

He stated that the two parties each provided two candidates for all 22 mayoral and chairmanship seats and 493 councillor seats ahead of the elections.

The ECSL Director also stated that there are a lot of independent candidates for both mayor and member of parliament seats.

“The law makes provision for independent candidates and we have a lot of independent candidates,” he said.

Educating locals on petition, Massaquoi clarified that it is impossible to petition candidates vying to contest in the local council election.

“For local council the window is now closed because the law says that we entertainment objections during the nomination and extensive for only an hour after the nomination,” he said.

He clarified that the petition for presidential candidates is not yet closed. Massaquoi said petition will be entertained only after the ECSL has gazetted the nominations.

“There is a window period of seven days after we have gazetted the nominations and individuals willing to petition will have to do so at the Supreme Court,” he said.

Massaquoi ended by informing the public that campaigns will start after the petition period and will last for only a month.

“The Commission will declare the campaign period between the 22nd of May to the 22nd of June,” he said.