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Observers Praise Sierra Leone Elections

Richard Howitt, head of the EU observation mission in Sierra Leone speaks during a press conference in Freetown, November 19, 2012.
European observers are praising Sierra Leone's elections as peaceful and well-organized, though they expressed concern about post-election unrest.

The country's National Electoral Commission is still tallying up the results from Saturday's presidential, parliamentary and local elections.

The chief of the European Union election observer mission, Richard Howitt, said the voting Saturday had gone smoothly.

"We describe this election as being a well-conducted election, it is conducive to democratic consolidation, that has occurred on an unlevel playing field but in a largely peaceful atmosphere," he said.

Howitt said he hopes there will be peaceful acceptance of the results.

Incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma faced eight challengers. The main opposition candidate, Julius Maada Bio, said Monday that his party had evidence of "rampant ballot stuffing."

The ruling All People's Congress party said the allegation was "fabricated."

These are the third elections since the end of Sierra Leone's civil war a decade ago.

The National Election Commission has 10 days to announce the final results.

If none of the nine presidential candidates wins 55 percent of the vote, a run-off will be held December 8.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.