It is now an open secret that the new Parliament will be officially opened Tuesday 24th April 2018 to old and new Members of Parliament and within a few day, if not weeks, the MPs are expected to elect a new Speaker of the House to replace the current Speaker Hon. Sheku B.B. Dumbuya in accordance with Section 79 (5) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The Sierra Leone Constitution states that for a new Speaker to be elected, a vote of not less than two-thirds of all the duly elected MPs, of which there are 132, alongside a total of 14 Paramount Chiefs, will be required.
Constitutionally, if any of the nominated candidates fail to secure 97 votes, which is two-thirds of 146 MPs, after three successive casting of ballots, it will be settled by a fourth option – a simple majority of 50% plus 1 vote (Section 79 (2). Voting for both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House will be done by secret ballots and every MP will take and sign an oath of office which will be administered by the Clerk of the House, before they can participate in the election of the Speaker.
The Clerk will preside over the election of the Speaker, and the Speaker will likewise preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker.
The current House has seen the APC having 68 seats; the SLPP 49 seats; the C4C 8 seats, the NGC 4 seats, 3 seats to independent candidates and 14 seats to Paramount Chiefs, making a grand total of 146 seats in parliament.
Constitutional requirements have it that those seeking to become Speaker must be an MP of at least 40 years old, and had served as an MP for more than 5 years.