Constitution of Sierra Leone

Status: Republic with executive President

Legislature: Parliament of Sierra Leone

Independence: 27 April 1961

The independence constitution was abrogated during the series of military coups which followed. The 1971 constitution allowed for a ceremonial president; an amendment later that year created an executive presidency. A new constitution in 1978 established a one-party state, with the All People’s Congress as the recognised party, and there was further constitutional amendment in 1985.

The 1991 constitution marked a return to a multiparty system, with many of the parliamentary features of the independence constitution, though the country was to remain a republic with an executive presidency. Implementation of this constitution was interrupted by an army coup. The National Provisional Ruling Council became the governing body, and rule was by decree.

These developments were in turn reversed by the implementation of the 1995 constitution, which (with amendments) restored the 1991 constitution, returning the country to a multiparty system with an executive presidency and a unicameral legislature. For the elections of May 2002, the legislature had a total of 124 members, comprising 112 directly elected – eight in each of 14 constituencies – and 12 paramount chiefs. Presidential and parliamentary elections are held at least every five years, under universal adult suffrage and proportional representation. The president forms a government and appoints a cabinet.