The candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has been declared the winner of the March 31 Sierra Leone Presidential run-off election.

According to the result announced by Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday in Freetown, Julius Madaa Bio received 1,319,406 votes representing 51.81 percent of the total valid votes cast, 2,546,577, to defeat the candidate of the ruling party.

According to the result, Kamara Wilson of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) polled 1,227,171 votes, representing 48.19 percent of the valid votes cast.

The Chairman of NEC, Mohamed Conteh, who announced the result, said that the national turnout in the election was 2,578,271 representing 81.11 registered voters, while 31,694 invalid votes were recorded.

“Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred on me as National Returning Officer by sections 52(2) and 94(4) of the Public Elections Act, 2012 (Act No 4 of 20l2), I hereby certify that Bio Julius Manda having polled 1,319,406 of the valid votes cast in the March 31 Presidential election run-off has been duly elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone."

“Any citizen of Sierra Leone who has lawfully voted in this election may challenge the validity of the said election of the President by petition to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, within seven days after the declaration of Presidential result pursuant to section 55(1) of the Public Elections Act, 2012 (Act No. 4 of 2012),” Mr. Conteh said.

Mr. Bio, a retired brigadier, is to take office as Sierra Leone’s 5th President having won the run-off election with more than 92,000 vote margin against his APC counterpart.

Mr. Bio replaced President Ernest Bai Koroma of APC, who has completed his two terms of five years each.

Under Sierra Leone’s constitution, a winning candidate is sworn in once the Chief Electoral Officer certifies the results of the election, followed by official inauguration later.

Fourteen political parties participated in the first ballot which was conducted on March 7, where no candidate secured the mandatory 55 percent of the total valid votes.

The opposition candidate, Mr. Bio, led the final result of the first ballot with 1,097, 482 votes, making 43.3 percent of the 2, 537,122 valid votes cast in the polls.

Samura Kamara of APC at the first ballot came a close second with 1,082, 748 votes, representing 42.7 percent of the total votes cast.

The run-off election became necessary since none of the candidates was able to get 51 percent

of the total votes cast, as provided by the country’s constitution.

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