Politics of Sierra Leone

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Sierra Leone

The government of Sierra Leone is the governing authority of the Republic of Sierra Leone, as established by the Sierra Leone Constitution. The Sierra Leone government is divided into three branches: the executive, legislative and the judicial. The seat of government of Sierra Leone is in the capital Freetown.

The government of Sierra Leone takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Sierra Leone is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the president. Legislative power is vested in by the Parliament of Sierra Leone.

The judiciary of Sierra Leone is independent of the executive and the legislature. Civil rights and freedom of religion are respected. A critical press continues to operate, although the government has intervened for alleged inaccurate reporting, using the 1965 Public Order Act which criminalizes libel.


Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Ernest Bai Koroma APC 17 September 2007
Vice-President Victor Bockarie Foh APC 19 March 2015

The President is Ernest Bai Koroma (since 17 September 2007). The president is both the head of state and head of government. Ministers of State are appointed by the president with the approval of the House of Representatives; the cabinet is responsible to the president. The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; elections were last held 17 November 2002 (Ernest Bai Koroma, APC, 58.7%; Julius Maada Bio, SLPP, 37.1%). The president's tenure of office is limited to two five-year terms.


The House of Representatives has 124 members, 112 members elected for a four-year term through proportional representation in 14 multi-seat constituencies with a constituency threshold of 12.5% and 12 Paramount chiefs.


There is a High Court, an Appeals Court, and a Supreme Court. The judicial system continues to function for civil cases though some regard it as handicapped by shortages of resources and qualified personnel. Judges are appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission with the approval of Parliament.

There also are magistrate and local courts and from these appeals lie to the superior courts of judicature.

The 1991 constitution created an ombudsman responsible for looking into complaints of abuses and capricious acts on the part of public officials. In 2000 the government promulgated the Anti-Corruption Act to combat corruption.

Administrative divisions

Sierra Leone is divided into provinces, districts, and chiefdoms. Sierra Leone has 3 rural provinces, plus a capital city administrative province. There are then 14 districts - 12 rural, 2 for the capital Freetown.

Sierra Leone is further divided into 149 chiefdoms.[1] The chiefdoms are hereditary, tribal units of local governance.[1] The World Bank sponsored the creation of elected local councils in 2004.[1]

Political parties and elections

The next parliamentary and presidential elections in Sierra Leone will take place on August 11, 2007.

For other political parties, see List of political parties in Sierra Leone. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Sierra Leone.
 Summary of the 11 August 2007 and 8 September President of Sierra Leone election results
Candidate Party 1st round 2nd round
Votes % Votes %
Ernest Bai Koroma All People's Congress (APC) 815,523 44.34% 950,407 54.62%
Solomon Berewa Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) 704,012 38.28% 789,651 45.38%
Charles Margai People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) 255,499 13.89%
Andrew Turay Convention People's Party (CPP) 28,610 1.56%
Amadu Jalloh National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 17,748 0.96%
Kandeh Baba Conteh Peace and Liberation Party (PLP) 10,556 0.57%
Abdul Kady Karim United National People's Party (UNPP) 7,260 0.39%
Total: (turnout 75.8%) 1,839,208 100.00% 1,740,058 100.00%
Source: National Electoral Commission (first round), National Electoral Commission (second round)
 Summary of the 11 August 2007 Parliament of Sierra Leone election results
Parties Votes % Seats
All People's Congress 728,898 40.73% 59
Sierra Leone People's Party 707,608 39.54% 43
People's Movement for Democratic Change 275,435 15.39% 10
National Democratic Alliance 31,388 1.75% 0
Convention People's Party 15,303 0.86% 0
United National People's Party 14,078 0.79% 0
Independents 10,127 0.57% 0
Peace and Liberation Party 6,752 0.38% 0
Traditional chiefs 12
Total 1,789,589 100.00% 124
Invalid (8.94% of all votes) 175,606
Total including invalid votes 1,965,195
Source: National Electoral Commission (seats and votes per constituency)

The traditional chiefs elected twelve MPs independently from the parliamentary
election; they are considered to be allied to the SLPP. (AFP)


  1. 1 2 3 Tristan Reed and James A. Robinson, The Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone, Scholar, Harvard University, 15 July 2013, Document available online, accessed 30 April 2014


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