President Julius Maada Bio has won re-election in Sierra Leone’s tense presidential vote, the election commission confirmed, but his main challenger was quick to reject the results.
Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed Kenewui Konneh said on Tuesday that Bio, 59, was re-elected with 56.17 percent of Saturday’s vote. His top rival Samura Kamara, of the All People’s Congress (APC), came second with 41.16 percent.
“By the powers invested in me … I hereby certify that Bio Julius Maada … [is] duly elected president,” Konneh said.
Winning candidates are required to secure 55 percent of votes, and Bio narrowly avoided a second round.
Kamara, 72, said that he “categorically” rejected the results. “It is a sad day for our beloved country. It is a frontal attack on our fledgling democracy,” he posted on Twitter.
“These results are NOT credible and I categorically reject the outcome so announced by the electoral commission,” he wrote.
The election commission’s announcement came after supporters of both parties had claimed to have won in recent days, with Kamara saying that he was on an “irreversible path to an overwhelming victory”. He also alleged that security forces had opened fire on Sunday on a celebration at his party’s headquarters, though police denied having fired live bullets.
Bio had defeated Kamara, a former foreign minister, in the 2018 election.
Vote tallying had already been disputed by the APC, which condemned in a statement on Monday an alleged lack of inclusiveness, transparency and responsibility by the election commission