Sierra Leone held a general election on Wednesday, March 7th to elect a new president, parliament, and local councils. None of the presidential candidates received 55% of the vote as required by election law, so March 27, 2018 has been set for the runoff date. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced on March 13 that former foreign affairs minister, Samura Kamara will face Julius Maada Bio, a former military head of state.
Kamara who leads the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) came in second after final results of the March 7 polls were declared. Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) won the first round with close to 1.1 million votes representing 43%.
The other two main candidates Kandeh Yumkella, a former United Nations Under-Secretary, and Samuel Sam-Sumana got 6.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. There were 12 other minor candidates.
President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping aside after his maximum two terms in office. The vote to replace him has largely been peaceful, a triumph for a country that lived through a brutal, diamond-fueled civil war in the 1990s.
The winner faces a huge task trying to kick start the West African country’s economy, which after recovering from the war has been ravaged by low prices for iron ore, its main export, and an Ebola epidemic.