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Sierra Leone's Election Leader Asks Supporters for Patience

Sierra Leone’s Independent Electoral Commission released new results Wednesday from last Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Ernest Koroma of the opposition All Peoples’ Congress (APC) party remains in first place, followed by incumbent Vice President Solomon Berewa of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Charles Margai of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party continues in third place.

Kelvin Lewis reports for VOA’s English to Africa Service. From the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, he said Koroma has maintained a consistent lead.

“The results have progressed from 17 percent now to 34 point three percent, and the All People’s Congress Party led by Ernest Bai Koroma to be in the lead, scoring something like 46 percent, and trailing behind is Solomon Berewa, the vice president who heads the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party with something like 35 percent. Of course, the third position has also not changed with the People’s Movement for Democratic Change headed by Charles Margai, scoring about 15 percent of the total vote,” he said.

Lewis said Koroma’s lead has been consistent in three consecutive days of results. But he said there are still more votes to be counted.

“So far for the past three days that the election results have been released, we have seen them making this supposition. It is possible that by the time we reach the 50 percent mark we should be having a clearer picture. There are still a million votes to be counted, and it is possible that the tables might change,” Lewis said.

He said if any of the candidates is to win the election single handedly, that person would have to satisfy a key constitutional stipulation.

“According to the constitution, he has to pull 55 percent of the votes cast. If he gets anything below that, they have to go into a runoff, which would be arranged two weeks after the National Electoral Commission releases the results. And in the runoff, it would be a simple majority because in the runoff there would be only two candidates, the first and the second,” he said.

Lewis said even though the constitution stipulates that final results are supposed to be announced within about two weeks from voting day, it is possible Sierra Leoneans could know the winner or a runoff before that time.

“According to their own timetable, they gave themselves 12 days, that’s within 12 days after voting stops they would be able to release the final results. It’s still early time yet. We’ve only finished a quarter of that period, and if things go as they are going, I am expecting that by the weekend we should have the final results,” Lewis said.

He said although the Electoral Commission has only announced the results of only four parliamentary seats, Koroma’s party has announced that it has won the majority of parliamentary seats.

“The parliamentary results so far released by the National Electoral Commission are only four seats, and the All Peoples’ Congress, which is the main leading party, has grabbed two of those seats and the other two, one is going to the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) which is the government party, and the other is going to the breakaway People’s Movement for Democratic Change party. But an interesting development took place (Wednesday) with the spokesman for the All People’s Congress convening a press conference in which he declared that according to their own counting, they have been able to know that they have won 61 seats and therefore they will be controlling the next parliament,” Lewis said.