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Sierra Leone News: Presidential, Parliamentary elections to be conducted in 2018

necThe Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mr. Mohamed N’fa Conteh has said both the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections will be done according to the date stated in the Constitution which will be either in 2017 or early 2018.
The Chief disclosed that the postponement of the census process in the country to December 2016, has affected the “demarcation of electoral boundaries for Local Councils and Parliamentary (elections). We have even planned to write to Statistics Sierra Leone so that they will give us a timeline as to when we will receive the Population Report and we will be expecting to have that in December 2016 and around that time we are expecting to do the Local Council Elections.”
He questioned, “but how can we do Local Council elections without delimiting the constituencies? So that is the problem we have.” Mr Conteh assured that “I will not say we are going to postpone the elections but the postponement of the census will affect the exercise of the boundary delimitation.”
Explaining about the time frame for each election he said “We will be expecting the elections the normal legal time, which are stated in the Constitution. For Local Council it should be held after every four years, and it was held in 2012 and according to law it should be in 2016. For Presidential and Parliamentary it should be after every five years since it was held in 2012 then legally it should be in 2017.”
However he went on “there is provision in the law for extension for about two or three month if we want to conduct them [Parliamentary and Presidential elections] simultaneously, we have to wait until Parliament has dissolved itself and the law allows for us to wait between two to three months, this is why the elections will roll over to early 2018. We expect to have the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2018 but for Local Councils we will expect it the normal time.”
Questioned about the registration of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora, Commissioner Conteh said they are planning to include that in the Commission’s five tears strategic plan as the registration is a critical issue and the law allows for the registration of people outside Sierra Leone. However he maintained “this is very difficult as it entails lot of work and planning. But we are looking at it and (we will) see how we can go about it since Sierra Leoneans are all over the world.”
About expectations from the public the Chief Electoral Commissioner admonished “the Stakeholder to expect that we will add value to the electoral process, we will endeavour collectively with colleagues and staff with the support of all stakeholders to conduct elections that are transparent, free and fair as far as possible with little recourse to court action.”
By Betty Milton
Thursday February 13, 2015

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