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Sierra Leone presidential poll set for runoff

March 12, 2018

Sierra Leone will hold a runoff vote after neither main opposition leader Julius Maada Bio nor ruling party candidate Samura Kamara cleared a 55 percent threshold.

Sierra Leone
Image: DW/Abu-Bakarr Jalloh

Sierra Leone will hold a presidential runoff vote on March 27, the electoral commission said on Tuesday. 

Julius Maada Bio, leader of the opposition People's Party, picked up 43.3 percent of votes in the March 7 election, while Samura Kamara of the All Peoples Congress (APC) won 42.7 percent, the commission said. 

Read moreSierra Leone: Voting for change or more of the same?

Under electoral rules, the vote goes to a runoff if no candidate garners the 55 percent needed to win the first round. 

Read moreSierra Leone heads into hotly contested elections

Sierra Leone goes to the polls

Time for change?

President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping down after serving a maximum of two five-year terms in office. He had tapped former foreign minister Kamara, 76, to run for APC against 53-year-old Bio, a former junta leader.

The two parties have dominated politics in Sierra Leone since the West African country became independent from Britain in 1961.

Read moreSierra Leone after Ebola

A total of 16 candidates ran in the presidential polls on March 7. European Union observers described the vote as generally "transparent, credible and well-organized," but noted there had been concerns about "intimidation and violence" in some areas.

Whoever is ultimately declared president faces a number of significant challenges. The economy of the poverty-stricken country is in a poor state following a commodity price slump and an ebola epidemic that killed thousands of people.

Life after Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

cw, nm/jm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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