2018 Sierra Leonean general election

General elections were held in Sierra Leone on 7 March 2018 to elect the President, Parliament and local councils.[2] Incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma did not run for another term, as he was constitutionally ineligible, having served the maximum ten years in office.

2018 Sierra Leone presidential election

← 2012 7 March 2018 (first round)
31 March 2018 (second round)[1]
2023 →
  Julius Maada Bio - 2020 (cropped).jpg Samura Kamara 2014.jpg
Nominee Julius Maada Bio Samura Kamara
Running mate Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh Chernor Maju Bah
Popular vote 1,319,406 1,227,171
Percentage 51.8% 48.2%

President before election

Ernest Bai Koroma

Elected President

Julius Maada Bio

No presidential candidate received the 55% of the vote required to win in the first round, meaning a second round of voting was held on 31 March between the top two candidates, opposition leader Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party and Samura Kamara of the ruling All People's Congress; the two were separated by under 15,000 votes in the first round. Bio was subsequently elected with 51.8% of the vote. International observers hailed the election as being "orderly, free and fair" despite the fact it was "hotly contested."[3][4]

Electoral systemEdit

The President of Sierra Leone is elected using a modified two-round system, with a candidate having to receive more that 55% of the vote in the first round to be elected.[5] If this is not achieved, a run-off will be held.

The 132 elected members of Parliament (increased from 112 in the 2012 elections) were elected from single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting.[6][7] The remaining 12 seats are reserved for Paramount Chiefs, who are elected indirectly.[8]

Presidential candidatesEdit

A total of 16 candidates registered to contest the elections;[9] 14 men and two women.[10]

President Koroma personally selected foreign minister Samura Kamara as the All People's Congress candidate at the party's convention held on 15 November 2017 in the northern city of Makeni. The APC also selected deputy speaker of parliament Chernor Maju Bah as the party's vice presidential candidate.

The main opposition, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) selected former military Head of State, retired Brigadier general Julius Maada Bio as its presidential candidate at the party's national convention held on 15 November 2017 in Freetown. Bio's running mate is businessman Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh.

Former Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana is the candidate of the Coalition for Change. His removal from office by President Koroma was challenged at the ECOWAS Court, which in November 2017 ruled that the removal of Sumana was illegal.[11]

Former United Nations senior official Kandeh Yumkella was chosen to be the presidential candidate of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), a breakaway faction of the SLPP. Yumkella's running mate is mechanical engineer Andrew Keillie.

The newly formed Unity Party is fielding Femi Claudius Cole, one of two female presidential candidates.[12]

Former Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Lands Musa Tarawally was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Citizens Democratic Party.[9]

Party Presidential candidate Vice-Presidential candidate
All People's Congress Samura Kamara Chernor Maju Bah
Alliance Democratic Party Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray Isata Abdulai Kamara
Citizens Democratic Party Musa Tarawally Paul Alimamy Bangura
Coalition for Change Samuel Sam-Sumana David Bai Conteh
National Democratic Alliance Mohamed Bah Victoria Hunter
National Grand Coalition Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella Andrew Karmoh Keili
National Progressive Democrats Patrick John O'Dwyer Blanche Joko Samura
National Unity and Reconciliation Party Jonathan Patrick Sandy Safiatu Blango
Peace and Liberation Party Kandeh Baba Conteh Abu Bakarr Salaiman Tarawally
People's Movement for Democratic Change Charles Francis Margai Isata Dohra Bangura
Republic National Independence Party Bresford Victor Williams Septimus Mohamed Kemokai
Revolutionary United Front Gbandi Jemba Ngobeh Ansumama Mambu Porga Fowai
Sierra Leone People's Party Julius Maada Bio Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh
United Democratic Movement Mohamed Sowa-Turay Alex Brihim Matthew Kai Kai
United National People's Party Saa Henry Kabuta Benedit Lansana Kargbo
Unity Party Femi Claudius Cole Mohamed S.V Jr Tarawalley


Due to the fact that the election falls outside of the five-year term plus three months limit, constitutional lawyers have criticised the announcement.[2]

Dual citizenshipEdit

The previously dormant issue of dual citizenship was raised during the election. The ruling party, APC, raised the issue citing Section 76(1) of the 1991 Constitution, which states that “No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament — if he is a naturalised citizen of Sierra Leone or is a citizen of a country other than Sierra Leone having become such a citizen voluntarily or is under a declaration of allegiance to such a country.”[13] The dual citizenship debate engulfed three presidential candidates: Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Dr. Samura Kamara of the All People's Congress (APC), and Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP). Yumkella claimed he denounced his American citizenship in 2017, while Mansaray said he has never held any other citizenship.[14] Two cases were brought to the Supreme Court: one filed on 5 February by an activist of the ruling All Peoples Congress party claiming that Yumkella is a naturalised citizen and therefore unqualified to contest the elections; and another filed by Charles Margai, a flag bearer for People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), claiming that the APC’s standard bearer is unqualified to run for president because he is a dual citizen and did not resign his ministerial position – for which he was paid from the state’s consolidated revenue – long enough to meet the constitutional requirement.[15] The defense of Yumkella appealed to the Supreme Court to have two of the judges removed from the case, then the matter was adjourned until 28 March (after the 7 March election) for the two new judges to study the case.[16] The dual citizenship issue will be remembered by citizens for propagating the slang term two-SIM to describe a person with dual citizenship.


The National Electoral Commission reported 3,178,663 registered voters (of which 1,654,228 were female) and a voter turnout of 2,676,549 (84.2%) across 3,300 polling centres and 11,122 polling stations.[17]


CandidateRunning matePartyFirst roundSecond round
Julius Maada BioMohamed Juldeh JallohSierra Leone People's Party1,097,48243.261,319,40651.81
Samura KamaraChernor Maju BahAll People's Congress1,082,74842.681,227,17148.19
Kandeh YumkellaAndrew Karmoh KeiliNational Grand Coalition174,0146.86
Samuel Sam-SumanaDavid Bai ContehCoalition for Change87,7203.46
Mohamed Kamaraimba MansarayIsata Abdulai KamaraAlliance Democratic Party26,7041.05
Gbandi Jemba NgobehAnsumama Mambu Porga FowaiRevolutionary United Front12,8270.51
Musa TarawallyPaul Alimamy BanguraCitizens Democratic Party11,4930.45
Charles MargaiIsata Dora BanguraPeople's Movement for Democratic Change9,8640.39
Mohamed Charnoh BahVictoria HunterNational Democratic Alliance8,3440.33
Mohamed Sowa-TurayAlex Brihim Matthew Kai KaiUnited Democratic Movement5,6950.22
Patrick John O'DwyerBlanche Joko SamuraNational Progressive Democrats4,2390.17
Kandeh Baba ContehAbu Bakarr Salaiman TarawallyPeace and Liberation Party4,2330.17
Femi Claudius ColeMohamed S.V Jr TarawalleyUnity Party3,8250.15
Saa Henry KabutaBenedit Lansana KargboUnited National People's Party3,0610.12
Beresford Victor WilliamsSeptimus Mohamed KemokaiRepublic National Independence Party2,5550.10
Jonathan Patrick SandySafiatu BlangoNational Unity and Reconciliation Party2,3180.09
Valid votes2,537,12294.792,546,57798.77
Invalid/blank votes139,4275.2131,6941.23
Total votes2,676,549100.002,578,271100.00
Registered voters/turnout3,178,66384.203,178,66381.11

By districtEdit

Second round
District Samura Bio
Votes % Votes %
Kenema District 27,308 11.45 211,232 88.55
Kono District 34,636 27.39 91,823 72.61
Kailahun District 13,343 10.04 119,502 89.96
Port Loko District 153,608 85.01 27,084 14.99
Kambia District 69,542 69.75 30,155 30.25
Karene District 73,514 88.94 9,146 11.06
Tonkolili District 143,500 86.32 22,748 13.68
Bombali District 144,056 90.68 14,807 9.32
Koinadugu District 40,210 67.91 19,004 32.09
Falaba District 22,562 57.23 16,862 42.77
Bo District 26,145 10.66 219,131 89.34
Moyamba District 21,045 17.91 96,456 82.09
Bonthe District 3,804 4.76 76,119 95.24
Pujehun District 6,701 8.39 73,121 91.61
Western Area Urban District 315,764 60.98 202,046 39.02
Western Area Rural District 131,433 59.31 90,170 40.69
Source: NECSL


A total of 795 candidates contested the parliamentary elections, of which 100 were female.[17]

All People's Congress989,43139.9368+1
Sierra Leone People's Party964,65938.9349+7
National Grand Coalition215,3158.694New
Coalition for Change119,0064.808New
Citizens Democratic Party31,5891.2700
Alliance Democratic Party19,8490.800New
People's Movement for Democratic Change19,0530.7700
National Progressive Democrats5,1730.210New
Unity Party3,7150.150New
National Democratic Alliance3,5340.1400
People's Democratic Party2,4280.1000
Peace and Liberation Party2,2780.0900
United Democratic Movement1,6450.0700
Republic National Independence Party6780.030New
United National People's Party6200.0300
Revolutionary United Front4380.0200
National Unity and Reconciliation Party1650.010New
Paramount chiefs14+2
Registered voters/turnout3,178,663
Source: EEAS


  1. ^ Leone, National Electoral Commission of Sierra (26 March 2018). "pic.twitter.com/WANZgunLz5". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b President Koroma announces election date – March 7th 2018 The Sierra Leone Telegraph, 15 February 2017
  3. ^ "Sierra Leone heads into hotly contested election runoff | DW | 30.03.2018".
  4. ^ "Sierra Leone Election 2018 – Noslina's Suna Nallo and Kwame Fitzjohn on VOA TV Today". 7 March 2018.
  5. ^ Sierra Leone 2018 elections – taking parliament and losing the presidency The Sierra Leone Telegraph, 11 December 2017
  6. ^ Elections in Sierra Leone: 2018 General Elections IFES
  7. ^ Electoral system IPU
  8. ^ Sierra Leone IFES
  9. ^ a b Sierra Leone elects new president: Profiles of top six contenders Africa News, 21 February 2018
  10. ^ 2018 Sierra Leone general elections: The voting process Africa News, 6 March 2018
  11. ^ ECOWAS Court: Sam-Sumana sack dey illegal BBC Pidgin, 27 November 2017
  12. ^ Koroma, Dusuba (8 November 2017). "Lone Female Presidential Candidate Urges Issues-based Voting". Sierra Leone Concord Times. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  13. ^ The Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991.
  14. ^ Dauphine, Edna Browne. "Kamarainba denies dual citizenship". Awoko. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  15. ^ Thomas, Abdul Rashid (28 February 2018). "Yumkella at the Supreme Court". The Sierra Leone Telegraph. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  16. ^ Bangura, Bernice (6 March 2018). "Sierra Leone Supreme Court Makes Decision On Kandeh Yumkella". Sierraloaded. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  17. ^ a b "7 March 2018 Elections in Sierra Leone by Numbers" (PDF). National Electoral Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.