Sierra Leone Polls: Bio, Ex-military Head of State Leads 

Mr. Mohammed, Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone

A former military coup leader and candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone People Party, SLPP, Maada Bio has won the first round of Sierra Leone’s presidential election.

He secured 43.3 per cent of the vote, short of the 55 per cent he needed to avoid a second round run-off.

Earlier when the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, Mr. Mohammed Conteh announced 50 per cent of the results of the March 7 poll, he said Kamara, candidate of the ruling APC), had polled 566, 113 votes and was followed by his key rival SLPP Bio, who had 564, 687 votes.

Bio overtook Conteh when the remaining 50 per cent of the results, announced in percentages according to the electoral law, was released.

In the 25 per cent results earlier released by the commission, APC’s Kamara polled 291,933 votes and Bio of SLPP had 274, 352 votes.

By the country’s electoral laws, results of the elections would to be announced in percentages starting from 25 per cent, 50 per cent and 75 per cent before the final results which would produce the winner of the contest.

A presidential candidate must receive 55 per cent of the total valid votes cast to win the election.

If no candidate reaches 55 per cent, the two candidates with the most votes will participate in a run-off or second round of the election.

Bio will now face the candidate of the ruling All Peoples Congress, APC, Samura Kamara, who was behind by just 0.6 per cent, in two weeks.

Should Brig Bio win that contest, it will be the second time he has led Sierra Leone, having briefly headed a military junta in 1996.  Brig Bio chose his now rival Mr Kamara as his finance minister in 1996.