‘This victory is for Sierra Leone,’ says Julius Maada Bio
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has won a second term in office with more than 56% of the vote, the West African country’s Electoral Commission announced Tuesday.
“By virtue of the powers vested in me, I hereby certify that Julius Maada Bio is elected president in the election of June 24, 2023,” Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed Kenewui Konneh told a press conference in the capital Freetown.
Bio, 59, the leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), won with 56.17% of vote in the first round
His closest rival, Samura Kamara of the All Peoples’ Congress (APC), came in second with 41.16%.
With a population of over 8 million and around 3 million registered voters, the national turnout was more than 2.8 million, representing 83% of all registered voters, according to the Electoral Commission.
The Sierra Leonean judiciary validated Bio’s victory.
Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards “has just administered the Presidential Oath of Office to the President Elect, Julius Maada Bio,” it said on Twitter.
In his swearing-in speech, Bio called for unity among his compatriots.
He expressed his determination to steer the country towards a future brimming with progress and prosperity.
“This victory is for Sierra Leone,” he said.
His opponent Kamara said it was “a sad day for our beloved country,” calling it “a frontal attack on our fledgling democracy” on Twitter.
“These results are NOT credible and I categorically reject the outcome so announced by the Electoral Commission,” he added.
Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who is also the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was quick to congratulate his Sierra Leonean counterpart “on his resounding victory” while wishing him “a prosperous term at the head of the country in the service of the people.”
The announcement of the partial results of the election on Monday was rejected by the country’s main opposition party.
It was followed by scuffles around the party’s Freetown headquarters between its members and the police.
The police said they used tear gas against demonstrators claiming victory for the APC outside the headquarters.
The APC, through its officials, reported gunshots which resulted in the death of one woman.
On the day of voting, which took place in all the dedicated centers across the country, electoral agents suspected of manipulating ballot boxes were beaten by people and ballot boxes were destroyed, according to the Electoral Commission.