The State Department has issued a statement congratulating the people of Sierra Leone for a peaceful election, the result of which showed current President Ernest Bai Koroma as winning more than 58% of the vote, 3% more than the required 55% needed to win without a run-off, while his strongest opponent, former military junta leader, Julius Maada Bai scored 37%.
President Koroma was sworn on for a second term on Friday, after provisional results showed his winning margin to be above the 55% threshold.
The State Department statement reads:
The United States commends the people of Sierra Leone who, on November 17, turned out in overwhelming numbers to vote in the third successful presidential and parliamentary election since the end of the country’s civil war in 2002. We congratulate President Ernest Bai Koroma on his re-election, and urge all parties to accept the results as representing the will of Sierra Leone’s voting public.
Any grievances related to the election must be resolved through Sierra Leone’s judiciary, in accordance with the rule of law. We urge all party leaders to refrain from actions that incite violence or encourage acts of retribution.
We call on the National Electoral Commission, Political Parties Registration Commission, and other stakeholders to address any electoral deficiencies and further strengthen Sierra Leonean democracy.
Meanwhile, Bai’s party the Sierra Leone People’s Party, has said the election was marred by widespread fraud, and said that their party leaders will meet Tuesday to consider a possible appeal, according to the VOA news.
International observers praised the polls as being free and fair. However, they criticized the All People’s Congress for using the government media for its campaign.