Sierra Leone to Hold Runoff as Opposition Wins Initial Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Sierra Leone will hold a runoff vote for president later this month after the main opposition’s candidate won the first round ballot but failed to secure a majority.

The Sierra Leone People’s Party’s Julius Maada Bio won 43.3 percent of the more than two-and-a-half million ballots cast and Samura Kamara, the candidate of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s All Peoples Congress, secured 42.7 percent, Nfa Alie Conteh, the chief commissioner of the National Electoral Commission, said Tuesday in a broadcast on Star television. The candidate of a newcomer, the National Grand Coalition, took third place with 6.9 percent while 13 other candidates accounted for the remaining votes.

The runoff between Bio and Kamara will take place on March 27 after neither candidate obtained the required 55 percent for an outright win, said Conteh.

The APC and the SLPP have dominated Sierra Leone politics since independence from Britain in 1961. The West African nation’s economy is recovering from a slump in iron-ore prices and the worst-ever Ebola outbreak that killed thousands of people and isolated the country.

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