After the long civil war of 1991–2002, Sierra
Leone has become relatively stable. The democratic
system seems to have taken hold and the country has had
fairly good economic growth. But an outbreak of the
contagious disease Ebola 2014 at least temporarily
halted development and despite great efforts, it is
difficult to overcome the corruption. The UN has played
an active role in both peace work and the reconstruction
of the country after the war. The 2018 election led to a
shift in power when Julius Maada Bio from the Sierra
Leone People's Party (SLPP) was elected president.
In spring 2012, tensions rose for the presidential
and parliamentary elections on November 17 of that year.
The election seemed to be a smooth story between
President Ernest Bai Koroma of the National
People's Congress (APC) and Julius Maada Bio of
the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP).
Some violence was reported before the election, but the
election day itself was calm (see also Calendar).
Country facts and history of Sierra Leone, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
According to the Election Commission, Koroma clearly
won the presidential election with 59 percent of the
vote. The elections were the first after the war that
Sierra Leone held without UN assistance and the
international observers approved the election. The
opposition, however, claimed that cheating has occurred.
Koromas APC also won the parliamentary elections, with
APC and SLPP being the only parties represented in the
In 2013, there was increasingly lively speculation
that Koroma and his party were considering changing the
constitution so that the president could be re-elected
more than once but no such change has taken place.
Koroma, with a background as an insurance broker, had
come to power in 2007 on the promise to fight the
widespread corruption and mismanagement of state funds.
Koroma has invested in market economy and encouraged
foreign investment to build up the country and partly
However, much of the development was on a low flame,
as Sierra Leone in 2014 suffered an outbreak of the
infectious disease ebola. The epidemic hit the economy
hard, both through lower growth and high inflation. Many
jobs disappeared, causing household incomes to fall, and
many schools were closed. Only in November 2015 could
the country be declared free of Ebola. Nearly 4,000
people were confirmed to have died during the 18 months
the epidemic had been going on. In January 2016,
however, a new death toll was reported in Ebola in the
northern part of the country, near the border with
Guinea. Since then, reports have come that more people
have been infected and about a hundred have been
In the spring of 2014, the UN said that its mission
in Sierra Leone would be transformed anew and that work
in the future would be mostly about developing the
country. The UN Peacebuilding Commission Unipsil
was replaced in March of the UNDAF (UN
Development Assistance Framework). At the same time, the
Sierra Leonean government set its own goals for what it
wanted to achieve, including converting the country into
a 25-year average income country (see Economic
A political conflict within the APC broke out in
March 2015, when Koroma first expelled Vice President
Samuel Sam-Sumana from the ruling party and then
dismissed him from the post (see Calendar). Koroma has
been criticized for mostly surrounding itself with yes-sayers.
Sam-Sumana has since formed its own party
Coalition for Change (C4C).
The 2018 election
On March 7, 2018, elections were held for the
presidential post, parliament and municipalities.
Election Day was described as calm. During the election
movement there were reports of occasional quarrels
between APC and SLPP supporters, without serious
Sixteen candidates ran for president. The candidate
for the ruling party APC was Foreign Minister Samura
Kamara, while the SLPP was represented by Julius Maada
Bio, who lost to Koroma 2012. Another of the more
prominent candidates was the charismatic Kandeh Yumkella,
who resigned from the SLPP and formed his own party, the
National Grand Coalition (NGC). His
promises of reform seemed to win among young voters.
Another new party, the Democratic Alliance Party
(ADP), has been formed by Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray
who left the APC. Two women were among the candidates,
Josephine Claudius-Cole and Gbandi Jemba Ngobeh, but
none of them had enough support to win.
Several of the candidates pledged measures to stop
the widespread corruption, including giving Sam-Sumana
promises of higher salaries for government employees,
implied that they would therefore not have to extinguish
their pay in other ways. The then ruling APC had been
criticized for making the country too dependent on
China. These include two major infrastructure projects
financed by Chinese money, including a new airport for $
300 million. The opposition also portrayed it as Samura
Kamara being just a front figure for the APC and that
President Koromo would continue to rule the country
behind the scenes.
There was broadly a smooth race between APC's Kamara
and SLPP's Maada Bio, which landed on about 43 percent
of the votes, with a slight takeover for Maada Bio.
However, the APC seemed to be taking over in Parliament,
and two of the new parties, C4C and NGC, were also
represented. After the first round of elections came
reports of violent clashes between supporters of the two
major parties, including in the city of Bo.
In the second round, Maada Bio won over Kamara with
52 percent of the vote. He took office as president in
early April. However, Kamara claimed that cheating had
occurred and turned to the court to have the result
In the parliamentary elections, APC became the
largest party before the SLPP.
SLPP gets majority in parliament after court ruling
In June 2019, the Freetown High Court ruled that ten
members of the APC would lose their seats in Parliament,
citing harassment of political opponents and using
public funds in their election campaigns. This led to
the SLPP getting ten new seats, and a scarce majority in
Parliament (see Calendar).
Read more about the ongoing development in the
FACTS - POLITICS
Republic of Sierra Leone / Republic of Sierra Leone
republic, unitary state
Head of State and Government
President Julius Maada Bio (2018–)
Most important parties with mandates in the
General People's Congress (APC) 68, Sierra Leone
People's Party (SLPP) 49, Coalition for Change (C4C) 8,
National Grand Coalition (NGC) 4, Independent Candidates
3 (2018) 1
Main parties with mandates in the second most
General People's Congress (APC) 67, Sierra Leone
People's Party (SLPP) 42 (2012)
87.3% in the 2012 presidential and parliamentary
elections, 85% in the first round of the 2018
presidential and parliamentary elections 2024
- In June 2019, APC lost ten mandates
following a court ruling, these mandates passed to
SLPP, which thus received a scarcely majority of the
The opposition wins presidential elections
In the second round of the presidential election, APC candidate Ernest Bai
Koroma wins with almost 55 percent of the vote over SLPP's Solomon Berewa.
The General People's Congress (APC) wins the parliamentary elections
The party receives more than 40 percent of the vote. Of the other parties,
only the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and the
People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) come into Parliament.