SIERRA LEONE
Parliamentary Chamber: Parliament

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Parliament


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  14 May 2002


Purpose of elections:

  For the first time since the civil war was declared officially over in January 2002, elections were held for all seats in Parliament. General elections had previously been held in February 1996.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Five months after the civil war was officially declared over, more than 2 million voters went to the polls on 14 May 2002 to elect a new President of the country and the 112 directly elected members of Parliament.

Although the electoral campaign was quite peaceful, there was a clash three days before the polling day between supporters of the former rebel group and now a political party, the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) and the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). After this event, leaders of seven political parties and the National Electoral Commission signed a joint statement condemning the violent clashes and urging supporters of political parties "to refrain from any acts or threats of violence and intimidation."

Final figures released by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) showed that 2,329,161 persons were registered to vote in the elections, including some returned refugees who were eligible for late registration. Nineteen parties were registered by the NEC, but only ten contested the parliamentary elections.

Election officials noted some irregularities but no violence on the polling day. The most serious breach reported was one presiding officer at one polling station apparently thumb-printing an untold number of ballot papers. International observers also declared that there had been some irregularities, including under-age voting and possible double-voting. One universal complaint, by international and local observers, was that more civic voter education was needed. Despite a poster campaign, sponsored by the United Nations and other organisations, many voters still did not know how to fill in their ballot papers. But all agreed that the polls were by far the most peaceful in the country since independence from the United Kingdom in 1961. The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Sierra Leone praised the organisation of the election and the way people had behaved.

President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won the presidential election, triumphing as the man who brought peace to the country after a decade of civil war.

In Parliament, 83 of the 112 seats at stake went to the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), giving it an absolute majority. The All People's Congress (APC) took 27 seats in the North and the West districts of the country, while the Peace and Liberation Party took the two remaining seats. None of the other seven political parties, including the former rebels of the Revolutionary United Front, reached the 12.5 percent threshold needed in any electoral district to enter Parliament.

On 10 June 2002, the twelve traditional leaders from the twelve districts were elected to seats in Parliament reserved for paramount chiefs.

On 25 June 2002, Parliament held its first sitting and re-elected Mr Edmond Cowan as its Speaker.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (14 May 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2 342 547
Voters 1 950 492 (83 %)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) 1 352 206 69.90
All People Congress (APC) 409 022 19.80
Peace and Liberation Party (PLP) 69 778 3.60

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) 83
All People Congress (APC) 27
Peace and Liberation Party (PLP) 2

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 106
Women: 18
Percent of women: 14.52


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union