African leaders congratulate Julius Maada Bio, new Sierra Leone president

Opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio wins Sierra Leone presidential runoff

Opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio wins Sierra Leone presidential runoff

Vote counting in the run-off was delayed after disagreement over the tallying method.

Under the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), Maada Bio won 51.81 percent of votes cast in the March 31 poll, according to results announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday.

The candidate who lost Sierra Leone's presidential run-off vote has said his party intends to challenge the results in court.

The president enjoined all those with grievances over the outcome of the elections to seek constitutional means of resolving them.

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He beat incumbent Samura Kamara, who secured 48.19 per cent of the vote, ending a decade in power for Mr. Kamara's All Peoples' Congress (APC) in the West African nation.

Bio led the first round of elections with 43.3% and Kamara, a former finance minister, followed closely with 42.7%.

SLPP officials urged the party's backers to remain calm.

Speaking to Class news, an observer in the elections, Simon Eyram Tsike-Sossah questioned why Sierra Leoneans will want to smear the former president despite his sacrifice to ensure a successful poll.

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More than 2.5 million people, or 81 per cent of eligible registered voters, cast ballots in the run-off, said the election commission's chairman.

He entered politics in 2012 in a losing bid against outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who could not run again because of term limits. For years, Sierra Leone was rated one of Africa's most dynamic economies but it has slowed sharply since 2014, weighed down by the Ebola outbreak and a global commodity price decline.

The former Military Head of State, Brig.

Bio, the 53-year-old standard-bearer of the Sierra Leone People's Party and a former military junta leader, won with nearly 52 percent of votes in last Saturday's poll.

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He later justified his actions as a way to return the country to a democratically elected civilian government and end the civil war. His wife Fatima is a practicing Muslim, and an ethnic Mandingo from Koidu, Kono District in eastern Sierra Leone.

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