Vote Counting Continues Into a Second Day After Sierra Leone Presidential, Parliamentary And Local Council Elections
Vote counting has continued into a second day after Sierra Leone’s presidential, parliamentary and local council elections which are seen as a litmus test to the country’s return to peace after an 11-year civil war.
The elections were held on Saturday in what international observers described as peaceful despite minor hitches regarding inadequate ballot papers and the late opening of polling stations.
In the presidential election, the ruling APC candidate President Ernest Bai Koroma is being challenged by the SLPP hopeful Julius Maada Bio with the winner expected to score 55 percent to avoid a run-off.
Although provisional results are not expected until later in the week, with the full results expected not later than November 26, Sierra Leoneans who are entertaining much hope about the politicians delivering on their promises of economic prosperity and lasting peace have been glued to radio sets following the election results.
Some have been holding pens and papers ready to compute the figures as they were being announced.
While early results broadcast by the Independent Radio Network (IRN) in partnership with BBC Media Action and Cotton Tree News (CTN) have not established a clear pattern, they suggest that the contest for supremacy is a two horse race between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
The radio network relaying the poll results comprises 28 radio stations broadcasting around the country.
Provisional results announced so far strongly suggest that the People’s Movement for Democrat Change (PMDC) party is gradually losing its position as the third force in Sierra Leone politics.
This is a far cry from 2007 when the PMDC was the kingmaker and determined the outcome of that year’s elections when it thrown its weight behind the ruling APC.
The interim results of the 2012 poll show the table to be turning with no success for the PMDC anywhere in the country so far.
Both the APC and SLPP are expected to keep their traditional strongholds of the two parties with the SLPP dominating the southeast while the APC look to hold onto the northwest.
The provisional results announced so far clearly indicate that, as both parties score high in their strongholds compared to other parts of the country where their scores have been as low as zero votes.
At least 2.6 million registered voters out of a population of about 6 million were expected to take part in the polls which is seen as a test of how far Sierra Leone has emerged from one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars in which over 50, 000 people were killed and the limbs of over 150, 000 chopped off.
Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries despite its mineral riches which include diamond, iron ore and bauxite.
Source African Press Agency
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