Sierra Leone’s parliament was Thursday turned to a boxing ring when its members turned on one another in fisticuffs.
The fight ensued while the lawmakers debated a proposed change to the electoral system to allow for proportional representation in next year’s election. Video footage available online showed members of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party engaged in a brawl and throwing chairs. The country’s electoral commission had suggested switching to a proportional representation system for next year’s local and parliamentary elections, excluding presidential polls.
What’s the issue with the proposal?
While the current administration supports the move, the opposition says the proposal is unconstitutional. The proposal’s fate is currently hanging in the balance, as it requires the approval of the parliament. According to local reports, it took the intervention of the police – who expelled disruptive MPs from the chamber – to restore calm to the scene. President Julius Bio, who was first elected in 2018, is expected to run for a second term in office in the June 2023 election.