Sierra Leone Elections Update: Part 3

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The National Electoral commission has announced 100% of all presidential votes. The A.P.C’s Ernest Bai Koroma has won 44% of the votes while the S.L.P.P has won 38% of the total vote. The P.M.D.C Leader Charles F. Margai won 14%; a remarkable feat for a political party less than 1½ years old. The constitution of Sierra Leone stipulates that a presidential candidate has to win at least fifty-five (55%) percent of the total votes in the first round of elections to prevent a run-off. As it stands now with only 7% of votes unannounced, there will absolutely be a run-off.

If the A.P.C had managed to gain at least 50.5% of the votes in the first round then they would have been guaranteed the win in the 2nd round single-majority-win election. Charles Margai the leader of the P.M.D.C whom many believed shortchanged the SLPP of votes in key areas in the South & East has announced that he will form an alliance with the APC. However the other members of the PMDC party executive board proclaimed that Margai’s decision to join the APC was unilateral and that they are not following suit.

The question then to ask is whether Margai wields enough power over his supporters to convince them to vote for the APC. In my opinion, PMDC supporters voted for Margai for two reasons (1) they want a change (2) Charles Margai represents the legacy of the SLPP party being the son and nephew of the founding fathers of the SLPP (Albert & Charles Margai….the nations 1st & 2nd prime ministers). This being said, I am convinced that though a small number of PMDC voters will support Charles Margai, the bulk of them will never ever vote for the APC. One of two things will happen….either PMDC supporters will abstain from participating in the second rounds or they will vote for the SLPP. If they stay away from the polls then APC is guaranteed a win, however if they cast their votes for the SLPP the race in the second rounds will be even closer than the first. The next president will be decided by one single vote.

Over the weekend the weekend, there was some issue around St. John about SLPP and APC party banners being reaped down by opposition supporters. There was a crowd and some words and blows exchanged….the police had to intervene with teargas to disperse the crowds. Lastly, I’ve been wanting to mention that Philip Neville the journalist who ran the article about the rice and was arrested….was released….more importantly, he printed a retraction.