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Sierra Leone plans controversial return to old voting system

Old voting system

Sierra Leone is to drop its current voting system and return to proportional representation, the president has decreed.

But the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party is considering mounting a legal challenge, according to representative Sidi Yahya Tunis, who called the president’s decision “ill-advised”.

In 1996, when multiparty democracy was reintroduced and with the civil war raging at the time, the country conducted its parliamentary elections under a proportional representation system.

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MPs got elected based on the percentage of the popular vote their parties received nationwide – as long as they received at least more than 5%.

In 2002, Sierra Leone introduced single-member constituencies with MPs elected on a -first-past-the-post basis.

Making the announcement on Friday, top electoral commissioner Mohamed Konneh said the decision to go back to the earlier PR system followed a presidential directive in accordance with the country’s constitution.

He said because the country’s constituency boundaries had expired and could not be re-drawn within the constitutionally stated period ahead of the next election “the boundary delimitation exercise which had commenced is halted with immediate effect”.

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