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More Results Expected from Sierra Leone’s Elections

Sierra Leone’s Independent Electoral Commission is expected to release more results today (Tuesday) from Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Preliminary results released Monday by the commission showed the opposition All People’s Congress Party leading with incumbent Vice President Solomon Berewa trailing in second place. The elections have been declared free, fair and credible by both local and international observers. Meanwhile full results are expected to take several days. If no presidential candidate wins more than 55 percent, a runoff will be held in September.

VOA’s Kevin Lewis in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown tells reporter Peter Clottey more about the first preliminary results released last night.

“The chief electoral commissioner Christiana Thorpe released for the first time a set of official results. And in the results, the All People’s Congress Party led by Ernest Bai Koroma was in the lead followed by the ruling Sierra Leon People’s Party led by Vice President Solomon Berewa, who was scoring something like a distant 33,000 votes and Ernest Koroma, was leading by 102,000 votes. The third leading party was that of Charles Margai, who is way behind with about 15,000 votes,” Lewis said.

He described a gunfire in the capital Monday as an isolated incident.

“The gun shot happened at the hotel just before a press conference which was supposed to be organized by the European Commission observers and the hall where the press conference was supposed to take place was where the bullet hit one of the glasses. It was retrieved and the chief of the Criminal Investigation Department has said that they are still investigating, but no arrest has been made,” he pointed out.

Lewis said the international election observers were impressed with the organization of the elections, but complained about an alleged vote-buying scheme perpetuated by one of the presidential contestants.

“The election observers most specifically, it was the chairman of the European parliamentary delegation, Martin Kalaran who is an MP (Member of Parliament) from the United Kingdom. He made the statement that the election officers were both surprised and concerned that crowds of people have been seen outside the house of the vice president, and they had investigated and found out that the vice president was not only dishing out election materials. But he has also been dishing out money to the crowds of people. And they said that was both surprising and regrettable,” Lewis said.