Court challenge filed against Sierra Leone election results
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — A member of the losing political party has filed a legal challenge to Sierra Leone’s presidential election, claiming irregularities and asking for a fresh vote.
Sylvia Olayinka Blyden’s petition asks the Supreme Court to nullify the results of the election in which Julius Maada Bio last week was declared the winner.
Bio, his Sierra Leone Peoples Party and the national election commission were being served copies of the petition on Wednesday.
Blyden is a member of the former ruling All Peoples Congress party. She seeks a fresh election within 90 days and the appointment of the parliament speaker as head of state until then.
Among the claims in her petition is that the voters’ register contained irregularities and that voting in SLPP strongholds was marked by intimidation of APC supporters.
Defeated candidate Samura Kamara has said the APC intended to take “appropriate legal action” against the election results, saying they “did not reflect the will of the voters.”
Any registered voter had seven days to petition the Supreme Court over the results. Bio was swiftly sworn into office before midnight on April 4, minutes after results were announced.
Bio, a former opposition candidate and military leader, now faces the challenge of helping the country of 7 million people recover from the devastating Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016.
The election was the fourth since Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war ended in 2002. A member of the APC filed a legal challenge to the results of the first round of voting and a temporary injunction was issued, stalling preparations. The high court later lifted the injunction but the runoff vote was delayed by a few days.