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President To Take Office Month Early Thanks To Amendment

November 1, 1985

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) _ Maj. Gen. Joseph Momoh, the newly elected president, will take office a month early thanks to a constitutional amendment by the Parliament.

The acting president, Justice Minister Francis Minah, has been filling in for 80-year-old President Siaka Stevens, who retired.

Momoh, Sierra Leone’s 48-year-old army chief, was elected Oct. 1 to succeed Stevens in the first nationwide elections in this one-party state. He was the sole presidential candidate and handpicked by Stevens, who ran this West African nation of 4 million people for 17 years.

Momoh would not have been able technically to assume office until the remaining weeks of Stevens’ term expired Dec. 13.

Under the amended constitution, a person elected to the presidency may take office the day he is declared elected or when his predecessor dies, resigns, retires, is incapacitated or removed by Parliament because of misconduct.

The amending bill was passed into law Thursday by two-thirds of the members of Parliament present, as required by the constitution.

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