Politics

Opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio wins presidential elections in Sierra Leone.

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 Opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio won the second round election to become Sierra Leone’s next president, according to certified vote tallies released on Wednesday.The poll’s winner was expected to be declared later on Wednesday .
Sierra Leone’s opposition challenger, Julius Maada Bio, has obtained his first term in office as a civilian after being declared the winner of a controversial presidential run-off.
Maada Bio, a former soldier who briefly led a military junta more than two decades ago, won 51.81% of ballots in last month’s election, according to official results released on Wednesday.
He beat the ruling party candidate Samura Kamara, who got 48.19% of the vote, ending a decade in power for Kamara’s All Peoples’ Congress (APC) .
Maada Bio was in a group of young soldiers behind a 1992 coup that installed their leader, Valentine Strasser, as the youngest head of state in the world, at the age of 25.
He later took power but agreed to step down in 1996 for an elected civilian leader, and his subsequent apologies for his role in the junta appear to have rehabilitated his image.
The official results of the vote had been delayed by a dispute over the method of tallying that left ballot papers from 11,000 polling stations uncounted.
The campaign was characterised by ugly verbal exchanges and sporadic violence, with Bio accusing the APC of using police to intimidate his party.
Police reported a string of attacks on candidates and supporters on both sides since the first round on 7 March – which Bio narrowly won – after which Kamara declared that “the safety and security of Sierra Leone is in our hands”.
Mada Bio, a straight-speaking former soldier, blasted the government’s closeness to China, while Kamara presented himself as a continuity candidate.
international observers reported some “issues” during the second round on 31 March which saw heightened security measures, yet the monitors declared themselves “satisfied” with the overall conduct of the poll.
On Wednesday, Kamara supporters marched in the capital Freetown, tore down Bio posters and alleging “foreign meddling” in the vote.
Security forces erected a cordon around Bio’s Sierra Leone People’s party (SLPP) headquarters, where hundreds of supporters had already begun celebrating victory before the expected official results.
Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest nations despite huge mineral and diamond deposits, Sierra Leone is recovering gradually from civil war and Ebola disease. Its economy remains fragile, with corruption widespread in the country.
It is surprising to notice that in these coupled elections during the first round, Samura Kamara won the majority in the parliementary elections whereas Bio’s party is compelled to search allies to vote laws.
On Thursday clashes broke between members of the 2 parties in Kenema where many people had been, among them 6 policemen.

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