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Deadline extended again, RUFP nominates Bangura

[Sierra Leone] Walter Nicol, Chairman of Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commission.
Walter Nicol, président de la Commission Nationale Electorale de Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone News - Sierra Leone Web)

The Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) has nominated secretary-general, Pallo Bangura, as its presidential candidate in the 14 May elections, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) told IRIN on Tuesday.

The RUFP's nomination comes just under a week after the official deadline for submission of presidential nomination papers to the NEC expired. Chief Electoral Commissioner Walter Nicol told IRIN that national legislation had allowed the NEC to extend the deadline again and it had accepted the RUFP's late nomination of Bangura, and his running mate, Peter Vandy.

"It is in the interest of everybody," Nicol said.

Bangura served as Minister of Energy and Power in a short-lived unity cabinet following the signing of the July 1999 Lome Peace Accord by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and rebel leader, Foday Sankoh. Vice-presidential candidate, Vandy, was Minister of Lands, Housing, Country Planning and the Environment, Sierra Leone Web reported.

The late nominations follow a period of uncertainty and division within the RUFP over who should stand in forthcoming elections. It had originally chosen Sankoh, but two weeks ago the NEC barred him from standing because he was not a registered voter, which, under Sierra Leonean law, made him ineligible.

Sankoh is in prison on murder charges relating to an incident outside his house in the capital, Freetown in May 2000 which resulted in the deaths of over 20 people. He was detained shortly after the event and was not seen in public again until his first court appearance on 4 March.

Following Sankoh's barring, the RUFP was unable to reach a consensus and subsequently failed to nominate a presidential candidate by the already extended 3 April deadline. Tuesday's nomination means that Bangura will join seven other presidential hopefuls in the elections.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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