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Sierra Leone opposition says wins presidential poll, ruling party disputes

The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) said on Monday its candidate Julius Maada Bio had won a presidential run-off election.

Sierra Leone's people party presidential candidate and former general, Julius Maada Bio, casts his ballot at the polling station in the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election on 31 March 2018 in Freetown. Picture: AFP

FREETOWN - The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) said on Monday its candidate Julius Maada Bio had won a presidential run-off election according to its own compilation of results, while the ruling party said it held a “comfortable lead”.

A spokesperson for the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) told Reuters that its candidate Samura Kamara was ahead based on a tabulation of around 83% of the ballots cast in Saturday’s poll.

Maada Bio, who briefly ruled the West African country as head of a military junta in 1996, eked out a narrow victory in the first round on 7 March with 43.3% of the votes compared to 42.7 for Kamara.

According to the SLPP’s tabulation distributed at news conference in the capital Freetown, Maada Bio took 54.11% of votes in the run-off with Kamara garnering 45.89%.

Sierra Leone’s National Elections Commission has not announced any results from the election, which was delayed several days due to a complaint of fraud lodged by a member of the APC.

Maada Bio and Kamara are competing to replace outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who was not allowed to run due to constitutional term limits.