"This latest political mini-drama in Sierra Leone, happening far ahead of the elections themselves, would appear rather steeped in bathos: from having to deal with a uniquely brutal war – which necessitated the deployment of over 16 000 foreign troops – the international community now debate inter-political party disagreements about the appointment of a demure ex-nun to preside over democratic elections in the country. But the dispute indicates broader anxieties about several recent developments– political and economic – which, if not properly handled, pose significant risks to the short-and medium-term stability of the country. This Situation Report will examine these risks, and will suggest how they might be mitigated."