As NEC sets date for first bye election in Western Area… SLPP & APC to battle for Parliamentary Majority again
In accordance with judgment delivered by Sierra Leone’s High Court on 31st May 2019, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has yesterday 13th June 2019 in a press release announced Saturday 24th August 2019 as the date for the conduct of bye-election in Constituency 110 in the Western Area District of Sierra Leone. Western Area in Sierra Leone comprises the capital Freetown and its environs. The proposed bye-election is going to be the very first in Western Area, an area seen to be opposition APC stronghold, since the election of President Julius Maada Bio.
The Constituency, which was previously won by the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party was by High Court order declared null and void, as per law and a fresh election is to be conducted three (3) months after the ruling on 31st May 2019.
The bye-election to be held in Constituency 110 in the Western Area District makes so far the second pending bye-elections due to be held in what many believes to be opposition APC strongholds, with another by election due to be held in Koinadugu District in the Northern Region, a district the APC won all the five (5) constituencies during the March parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that following the March 2018 Parliamentary elections, the APC lost the presidency but had the largest single block of members in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, with 68 representatives, followed by the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) which had 49 Members in the Sierra Leone Parliament. Other parties including the Coalition for Change (C4C) has 8 MPs, the National Grand Coalition (NGC) has 4 MPs, and 3 Independent MPS, which in total makes it 132 Ordinary Members of Parliament. The other set of 14 MPs and Paramount Chiefs Members of Parliament (PCMP) elected from each of the 14 Provincial Districts of Sierra Leone, making a total of 146 Members in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament.
However, due to the death of one of their MPs, the APC’s majority was down to 67 MPs until High Court ruling against 10 of its MPs (giving 9 seats to the ruling SLPP and one declared null and void). These automatically brings the SLPP majority party in parliament with 58 MPs against the opposition APC which currently has 57 MPs seats, with the ruling SLPP leading by a single seat (and two pending bye elections).
Meanwhile, with elections due in two constituencies that are opposition strongholds, many political activists here in Sierra Leone claimed that especially in the first bye election in the Western Area, this is indeed a test case for the popularity of the ruling SLPP in the surrounding of the capital Freetown.