Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court has approved the election commission’s request to delay Tuesday’s runoff presidential vote until the weekend after the lifting of an interim injunction that had stalled preparations. Lawyers for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said the injunction order had thrown the country’s election into “chaos.” The upcoming vote will see ruling party candidate Samura Kamara face off opposition candidate and leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Julius Maada Bio. Bio won the initial March 7 election by a thin margin, securing 43.4 percent of the vote compared to Kamara’s 42.7 percent. But because neither candidate secured the 55 percent of the votes needed to govern outright, a runoff election was scheduled for March 27.
On Saturday, justice Abdulrahman Mansaray granted an interim injunction which would prevent the runoff election being held as scheduled, based on fraud claims made by a lawyer linked to the ruling All People’s Congress (APC).
Leaders of 27 civil society organizations issued an official statement which condemned the initial ruling of the Supreme Court, claiming it was a ploy by the APC to manipulate the outcome of the election.