Sierra Leone's election 'flawed'

2012-11-25 12:01
Ernest Koroma (Picture: AFP)

Ernest Koroma (Picture: AFP)

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Freetown - Julius Maada Bio, beaten into second place in Sierra Leone's presidential poll according to official results, denounced the election as riddled with fraud in a statement to AFP on Saturday.

"The process was fraudulent and the results do not reflect the will of Sierra Leoneans," he said.

"The party has raised concerns about electoral irregularities including faked and unstamped reconciliation and results forms, pre-marked ballot papers, ballot stuffing and overvoting in Kono (diamond-rich east), the western area and the northern province," he said.

"These and many more instances of malpractice undermines the credibility of the results."

On Friday, Koroma was declared re-elected and sworn in for a second term after winning the first round outright with 58% of votes.

Bio, an ex-military ruler and candidate for the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), trailed in second place with 37.4%.

The National Elections Commission chief Christiana Thorpe issued a statement earlier in the week in response to previous SLPP allegations, urging the party to provide evidence to the police.

International observers widely praised the poll as free, peaceful and well-conducted.

They did however note some shortcomings in the voting process and said that Koroma enjoyed an unequal playing field given that he dominated media coverage and had used state resources for campaigning.

The presidential, parliamentary and local elections were the first wholly organised by government since the end of a brutal 11-year conflict in 2002 and were seen as a key test of its recovery

The war was one of Africa's bloodiest and left the world with images of rebel leaders armed from the sale of "blood diamonds" recruiting child soldiers and hacking off arms and legs of citizens in a campaign of terror.

Read more on:    sierra leone  |  west africa

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