Working with political parties to strengthen candidate selection processes in Sierra Leone

Policy brief State

  • In much of the world, political party leaders select candidates to run in the general election with little direct input from voters.
  • This raises questions about representation and accountability: if given a say, would voters have chosen different candidates? Are selected candidates accountable to the voters they represent or the party leaders that select them?
  • This study worked with political parties in Sierra Leone to experiment with more democratic processes to select their candidates in the lead up to the 2018 Parliamentary elections.
  • Results suggest that the combination of local party conventions and voter opinion polling increased the amount of information held by both party leaders and voters, and increased the likelihood that locally popular candidates were given the chance to compete in the general election.