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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Vying for Kabbah's office
A supporter of the PLP candidate, Johnny Paul Koroma
Johnny Paul Koroma wants to return to power
Eight candidates are hoping to end President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah's hold in power in Sierra Leone's elections.

Ernest Bai Koroma

The new face of the resurgent All People's Congress, APC, the former single party which won less than 6% in the 1996 poll.

Ernest Koroma, APC
Ernest Koroma may force a second round
He is from northern Sierra Leone's largest tribe, the Temne, in the north, where the APC enjoys most support.

Ernest Koroma, 48, has little political experience but is seen as Ahmad Tejan Kabbah's main challenger if there is a second round of voting.

The APC, in power from 1968-92, introduced single-party rule in 1978.

Alimamy Pallo Bangura

The candidate of the former rebels of the Revolutionary United Front Party, who officially made peace with the government in January. He was in prison until last year.

He had been detained alongside rebel leader Foday Sankoh in May 2000.

When he was released in September 2001, he became interim general secretary of the RUF and was then designated presidential candidate as Foday Sankoh, currently in prison on murder charges, was not allowed to contest.

Alimamy Pallo Bangura
Pallo Bangura is hoping people will vote for the former rebels

Pallo Bangura's candidacy was opposed by a significant portion of the RUF rank-and-file who argued that only Mr Sankoh can be their true leader.

The RUFP believes it has a good chance of winning seats in parliament.

Pallo Bangura, 51, is a former academic. He is a Limba from the north.

He was foreign minister in the junta that ousted Mr Kabbah in 1997, and which itself was toppled in 1998.

After the 1999 peace deal, he served in President Kabbah's government.

Mr Bangura became an RUF member in 1993 under a military regime and was appointed to a national advisory council aimed at returning the country to multi-party democracy.

In 1994 he became Sierra Leone's ambassador to the United Nations and remained in New York until 1996.

A negotiator in the 1999 peace accord between the government and the RUF, Pallo Bangura became energy minister in a unity government and served until May 2000, when a crisis erupted after rebels kidnapped UN peacekeepers and he was arrested.

Johnny Paul Koroma

One-time head of the military junta that ousted Mr Kabbah in 1997, his campaign has support from youths dissatisfied with what they see as corrupt politicians and from the born-again Church he belongs to.

Woman casts her vote
Many Sierra Leoneans were eager to cast their vote

Mr Koroma's electoral symbol is an angel, but he is seen as a possible candidate to face a United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal.

Sierra Leoneans blame his fighters in the West Side militia for being just as cruel as the rebels.

The candidate of the Peace and Liberation Party, the PLP, is a former officer of the Sierra Leone Army.

Nicknamed "JP", Mr Koroma was suspected of plotting a coup and imprisoned by President Kabbah in 1997 but was freed during a putsch later that year by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, the AFRC.

The AFRC allied itself with the rebels but was toppled in February 1998 following bitter fighting with the West African regional military force which reinstated Mr Kabbah.

"JP" increasingly distanced himself from the RUF, and in May 2000, when the rebels took some 500 UN peacekeepers hostage, Johnny Paul Koroma clearly took sides with the government.

The PLP has some support in the Mende-speaking south.

  • Zainab Bangura

    Zainab Bangura, of the Movement for Progress, is the only woman in the race.

    The former insurance official ran the Campaign for Good Governance pressure group, which fought corruption and demanded an end to military rule during the early 1990s.

  • John Karefa-Smart

    The former medical doctor came second in 1996 with just over 40% of the vote in a run-off against Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.

    Supporters of John Karefa-Smart at the UNPP headquarters in Freetown
    John Karefa-Smart's UNPP has split since the last poll

    But Mr Karefa-Smart, who is in his 80s, has been largely out of the public eye since then and has not fought a very visible campaign.

    He is the candidate of the United National People's Party, the UNPP, but his party has become deeply divided.

    He became an MP before Sierra Leone gained independence from Britain in 1961.

  • Raymond Bamidele Thomson

    A lawyer from an old political family who has spent much of his life in the United States.

    Mr Raymond Thomson is a Krio from Freetown and is the only candidate not from the north.

    His Citizens United for Peace and Progress is the result of a split in the UNPP.

  • Andrew Turay

    The 52-year-old candidate of the Young People's Party, the YPP, is a former agriculturalist who ran projects sponsored by the World Bank.

    He is campaigning to improve education and address what he calls Sierra Leone's "moral decline". He contested the presidential elections in 1996.

  • Raymond Kamara

    The agriculturalist on the Grand Alliance Party ticket entered parliament at the 1996 election.

    He fought that ballot with John Karefa-Smart's party before splitting away.

  • See also:

    13 May 02 | Africa
    S Leone foes 'compete as friends'
    11 May 02 | Africa
    S Leone campaign ends in riots
    10 May 02 | Africa
    Sierra Leone troops vote early
    28 Mar 02 | Africa
    Sankoh barred from poll
    13 Mar 02 | Africa
    In pictures: Foday Sankoh emerges
    12 May 00 | Africa
    Foday Sankoh: Rebel leader
    09 May 02 | Africa
    Election boom in Freetown
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