Koroma to Serve as President of Sierra Leone

150 150 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… Ernest Bai Koroma, leader of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC,) will serve as Sierra Leone’s next president having won the second round of voting in the country’s presidential election.

The National Electoral Commission announced Monday (September, 17, 2007) that Koromo won 54.6 percent of the September 8 run-off poll against the 45.4 percent gained by Vice President Solomon Berewa of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP.)

Koroma had won 44 percent of the vote in the first round of elections on August 11, falling short of the majority required to be declared the outright winner, and therefore forcing him to a face-off with second placed Berewa. The APC party won 59 of the 112 seats up for grabs in the parliamentary elections run concurrently on August 11.

The NEC announced the official results despite the SLPP saying it would seek a court injunction to prevent any further results being released due to election irregularities.

Tension had been high in the run up to the vote, between supporters of the two candidates, causing Koroma, 54, and Berewa to pledge to run peaceful campaigns. Election observers last week declared the vote to be free and fare

The result brings an end to a 10-year rule of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah who was prevented by law from running for a third term in office.

The election result marks the return to rule of the APC which was in power when the decade long civil war started in 1991. It had enjoyed an uninterrupted run of power from 1968 and introduced a single-party rule in 1978.

Koroma, an insurance executive, pledged to lift Sierra Leone from the “grass to grace” in his election campaign, vowing to tackle corruption and bring stability which would attract investment to the war torn west African country.

Born in northern Makeni in October 1953, Koroma graduated from the country’s Fourah Bay College after which he taught briefly before going into insurance brokering where he rose to the post of chief executive officer of a local firm.

He was elected leader of the APC in the run up to the 2002 presidential elections which he lost against Kabbah.

Despite being endowed with some of the world’s most precious mineral resources, including diamonds, Sierra Leone was last year ranked the second most impoverished country under the UN Human Development Index.

With additional reporting by Dialog NewsEdge

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