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Koroma re-elected in Sierra Leone vote

Incumbent president avoids runoff in West African nation after capturing 58.7 of ballots, according to official results.
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2012 20:32
International observers said the Novermber 17 vote was peaceful and transparent [Reuters]

Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has won re-election with 58.7 per cent of this week's presidential election, according to the country's electoral body.

His top rival, Julius Maada Bio, won 37.4 per cent of the ballots, according to official results released on Friday.

Koroma has overseen an investment boom in the country's resources sector that could make it one of the world's fastest
growing economies this year.

The results mean that Koroma, leader of the All People's Congress party, passed the 55 per cent mark needed to win outright and avoid a runoff vote.

His challenger said before the election that he would only accept the result if the vote was proven to be free and fair. His party said on Monday that they had evidence of "rampant ballot stuffing" and fraud in Saturday's vote, and accused the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of complicity.

However, the Carter Center election watchdog and EU observers both said the poll was peaceful and transparent. The carter Center said the elections had met "benchmarks for a free and transparent" poll.

Some irregularities and organisational problems were reported but not enough to affect the overall vote, NEC said.

Koroma has overseen an investment boom in the country's resources sector that could make it one of the world's fastest growing economies this year.

He was first elected in 2007 and says he has visibly improved the country's quality of life. His supporters point to newly paved roads and a government health care reform programme that has provided free medical treatment although there are serious concerns about its sustainability.

His opponent argue that not enough progress has been made since the 11-year-civil war ended in 2002.

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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