Sierra Leone’s opposition candidate and former military junta leader Julius Maada Bio was sworn in the new president late on Wednesday. This was just hours after the elections commission announced his victory in a tight run-off poll.
Maada Bio, who briefly ruled Sierra Leone as head of a military junta in 1996, replaces outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who could not seek re-election due to term limits.
Representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Maada Bio won 51.81% of votes cast in the March 31 poll. This is according to results announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday.
He defeated former foreign affairs minister and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, who had held a slight lead based on partial results earlier in the day but in the end garnered 48.19 per cent.
Maada now faces the difficult task of rebuilding the impoverished West African nation’s economy that was dragged down by the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic and a global slump in commodity prices.
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