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Sierra Leone’s election conducted in generally peaceful, transparent manner: AU observers

By Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) on Thursday said the June 24 general elections in Sierra Leone were conducted in a generally peaceful and transparent manner.
   The AUEOM, in its preliminary statement issued Thursday regarding the June 24 general elections in Sierra Leone, said the electoral environment was characterized by heightened tensions and reported incidents of violence in some parts of the country.
   It, however, said the elections were conducted in "a generally peaceful, transparent and credible manner, up to the counting on polling day, despite reported incidents of violence particularly during the pre-election period."
   The AUEOM commended the people of Sierra Leone for their enthusiasm, commitment and resilience to express their will at the polls and their unwavering commitment to maintaining democratic stability.
   The AUEOM, led by Hailemariam Desalegn, former Ethiopian prime minister, was comprised of 50 short-term observers representing 20 African countries, who were drawn from ambassadors accredited to the AU, officials of election management bodies, members of African civil society organizations, African election experts, and human rights specialists, among others.
   The AUEOM also highlighted the high levels of misinformation, disinformation, fake news, and hate speech mainly conveyed via social media platforms and radios. It called on all political parties to refrain from violence, hate speech, and any other acts that could undermine the stability of the country.
   The AUEOM commended Sierra Leone for implementing some of the electoral reforms in line with previous AUEOM recommendations.
   On Tuesday, the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) declared Julius Maada Bio, the incumbent president and ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) candidate, had won his second five-year term in this year's presidential election. The ECSL announced that Bio secured about 56.17 percent of the total votes, while the opposition All People's Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara got around 41.16 percent.
   The election was the fifth to take place in Sierra Leone since the end of the civil war in 2002, and the third election that was fully self-administered. Thirteen political parties contested the presidential election, but the landscape was dominated by the SLPP and the APC.  Enditem
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