Accessibility links

Breaking News

Presidential Election Takes Place in Sierra Leone


Andrew Raka, electoral officer in charge of Port Loko district, stands in front of some of the ballots which will be used during the election in Port Loko, Sierra Leone, March 10, 2018. (J. Patinkin/VOA)

Voters in Sierra Leone are heading to the polls Wednesday to choose a new president they hope will lead the west African nation out of an economy left in shambles from the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak.

Sixteen people are running to succeed outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who has served his constitutionally allowed two five-year terms in office. The two leading candidates are Samura Kamara of President Koroma's ruling All People's Congress, and Julius Maada Bio, the leader of the Sierra Leone People's Party. The APC and SLPP have alternately ruled the small nation since it gained independence from Britain in 1961.

FILE - Sierra Leone President, Ernest Bai Koroma, left, and Liberia President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, right, on arrival for talks with President Yahya Jammeh, in Banjul, Gambia.
FILE - Sierra Leone President, Ernest Bai Koroma, left, and Liberia President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, right, on arrival for talks with President Yahya Jammeh, in Banjul, Gambia.

But the newly formed National Grand Coalition party, led by former United Nations diplomat Kandeh Yumkella, has attracted the support of younger voters who are not loyal to either the APC or SLPP.

The large field of candidates may increase the possibility of a runoff election if no candidate gets 55 percent of the votes.

Sierra Leone has been mired in deep poverty thanks to the two-year outbreak of the deadly Ebola crisis and falling global commodity prices that affected iron ore, the country's key export.

And Sierra Leone continues its struggle to recover from the horrific 1991-2002 civil war that killed tens of thousands of people.

Your opinion

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG