By Millicent Senava Mannah
The Institute for Governance Reform, Chief Executive Director, Andrew Lavali, has said that around 37 to 39 women including one female Paramount Chief MP will make up 25% to 26% of the next 149 MPs. He said this during the launch of his institution’s forecast of the Electoral Map in the country called the SierraPoll.
He made that disclosure on the 29th May, 2023 at the institution’s Conference Room, Off Spur Road in Freetown.
In his explanation, he said the SierraPoll combines survey data of registered voters with the party’s list of candidates across all 16 districts to assess how political parties will perform in each district and project the electoral map of the country for the 24th June, 2023 elections.
His survey showed that the country will not be able to achieve the 30% given to women in the Gender and Women’s Empowerment Act.
Giving an overview of the SierraPoll, Andrew Lavali, intimated that they asked voters which party , MP or Councillor they would vote for if elections were held tomorrow. “Base on this information we forecast the composition of the next Parliament,’’ he revealed.
He continued that such includes the percentage share of women in the House as well as the distribution of the 22 local councils among political parties and independent candidates.
Andrew Lavali maintained that when the survey results were compared with official district-level results in three election cycles over the last 20 years they see changes in voting patterns in both multi-ethnic communities in the North-Eastern areas of the country and party stronghold districts.
‘’SierraPoll conducts opinion polls to contribute to improving the quality and integrity of Sierra Leone’s electoral process, support political parties with reliable data to plan their campaigns, as well as help the electorate and interest groups to manage expectations as they plan for life after the election,’’ Andrew Lavali noted.
‘’We believe that the upcoming elections provide a good opportunity for Sierra Leone to deepen the cultural and civic norms around the usage of scientific polling data for informed decision-making,’’ he stated.
According to him, the survey shows a threshold of 11.9%, and how such makes it difficult for smaller parties and independent candidates to win seats stating effectively, this means that the 2023 election is essentially a two-horse race between the ruling SLPP and main opposition APC.
He noted that it is useful to note that accuracy of poll numbers is not only about correctly calling which party will win an election in a district, but how close the poll figures are to ECSL’s final election results.
Andrew Lavali stated that the survey reveals reduced support for the two smaller parties in Parliament, the NGC and the C4C, even in districts (Kambia and Kono) that they won in 2018. He furthered how part of this could be explained by the leadership in both of these parties forming new alliances with other political parties in the lead up to the June 2023 elections.
According to him, it is possible that this has paved the way for their membership to return back to the two dominant parties they break away from in 2018.