June 26, 2023

Presidential Race Turns Tense in Sierra Leone

Both dominant presidential candidates in Sierra Leone have claimed victory in the general elections, despite no results having been announced by Monday, 26 June.

While the mood of the official voting day on Saturday, 24 June, was reportedly peaceful across the country – despite some minor delays – the campaign lead-up has been tense and marred by violence.

A supporter of doctor Samura Kamara, the central opposition leader to the current president Julius Maada Bio, was allegedly shot by the local police on Wednesday, 21 June – an allegation which the law enforcement has denied.

However, by Sunday 25 June, reports began to surface that police had also fired tear gas at the main opposition party’s headquarters in the country’s capital city, Freetown. Kamara, who represents the All People’s Congress party, tweeted shortly afterwards that live bullets were fired at his office.

An unnamed woman was reportedly found severely wounded and without a pulse within the headquarters and is currently receiving medical attention.

To be declared a winner of the presidential election, the candidate must secure 55% of the valid votes cast. If a clear majority is not reached when the results are announced, there will have to be a run-off between the top two candidates two weeks later.

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