Sierra Leone Delays Vote Even as Court Rejects Postponement Bid

(Bloomberg) -- Sierra Leone postponed Tuesday’s presidential runoff by four days even after a court rejected a bid to have the vote delayed because of alleged voting irregularities.

The declaration on Monday by High Court Judge Abdulrahman Mansaray that the election may proceed came after a member of the ruling All Peoples’ Congress party filed for an injunction to suspend the runoff ballot, because of alleged fraud in the first round on March 7. The same court ordered the National Electoral Commission on Saturday to halt preparations for the second round, pending the presentation of arguments on Monday.

“Due to logistical delays resulting from the injunction, polling cannot be conducted” on Tuesday and will now be held on March 31, the National Electoral Commission said in a statement after the ruling was delivered.

Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party won the first round with 43.3 percent of the vote and will face Samura Kamara, the candidate of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s APC who secured 42.7 percent, in a runoff. The two parties have dominated the nation’s politics since independence from Britain in 1961.

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