Sierra Leone presidential poll set for Julius Maada Bio and Samura Kamara runoff | News | DW | 12.03.2018

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Sierra Leone presidential poll set for Julius Maada Bio and Samura Kamara runoff

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 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

Watch video 03:07

Sierra Leone heads 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.

Watch video 05:47

Life after Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

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

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