Monday, September 10, 2007

Voters Await Results After Tense Election

Sierra Leoneans are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the second round of a presidential election which could see the ruling party deposed from office, agencies report.

As votes were being counted, a correspondent for South Africa's SABC Africa channel reported that Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress (APC) were running "neck and neck."

Reuters reported a local radio station as saying that with five to 10 percent of votes in, Koroma was leading. Koroma drew the highest number of votes in the first round of the election, but not enough to avoid a run-off. His APC has already won the parliamentary elections.

Despite sporadic incidents of violence in the build-up to the election, the National Electoral Commission chair, Dr. Christiana Thorpe, said in an interview that "I'm pretty satisfied with how it's happened." She added: "There were isolated hitches here and there but less hitches than the first round."

Reuters reported that both sides accused one another of fraud and intimidation. The SLPP complained that polling agents were harassed and intimidated, and the APC that there was double voting in one town and that five of their agents in another were kidnapped and attacked.

allAfrica.com: Sierra Leone: Voters Await Results After Tense Election (Page 1 of 1)