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Sierra Leone Awaits Election Results
Freetown--- Sierra Leone electoral officials tallied votes Sunday from general elections seen as a key test of the West African nation’s postwar recovery as it looks towards greater development thanks to a mining boom.  Voters are choosing between incumbent President Ernest Koroma and eight other challengers. Koroma is regarded as the favourite, but it is unclear whether he will reach the 55 percent of votes needed to avoid a run-off. The poll is seen as a tight race between incumbent Koroma, who has overseen a construction boom, and ex-military leader Julius Maada Bio, who has amassed support among many still struggling to survive in what is still one of the world’s poorest nations.
 
 The presidential, parliamentary and local elections were mostly peaceful as Sierra Leone chose a parliament and president. The polls are the third since the nation emerged from civil war in 2002.  This year, Sierra Leone experienced economic growth of 20 percent, spurred by iron ore and oil extraction. Sporadic cheering erupted in communities across the capital Freetown, a traditional stronghold of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC), as results trickled in.
 
Polling officials counted votes throughout the night, mostly by lantern light, under the watch of observers, party officials, police and soldiers. Complete results are not expected until next week, and the National Electoral Commission will announce the final outcome on Saturday.

 

 

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