Sierra Leone Presidential Runoff Calm; Low Turnout Reported

Voting in Sierra Leone's presidential runoff election seemed peaceful Saturday during the Easter holiday weekend, as citizens hoped to complete a process started on March 7.

The current president, Ernest Bai Koroma, is stepping down this year after serving two five-year terms.

Voters Saturday are casting ballots for either the ruling All Peoples Congress Party's presidential candidate Dr. Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, or the Sierra Leone People's Party presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio.

This is the second time opposition candidate Bio has run for the country's top government job. He lost the 2012 election to President Koroma.

Reports said turnout seemed lower than in the first round of voting, possibly because of heavy security precautions. News agency reports that driving is banned, forcing voters to walk to their polling stations.

Saturday's runoff was delayed for four days by a court challenge to the first-round results. The challenge cited "irregularities" that resulted in a temporary injunction to give the election commission more time to prepare.

The new president will have to contend with issues such as rebuilding after the country's devastating Ebola virus epidemic of 2014-2016, as well as a mudslide in August that killed an estimated 1,000 people in the nation's capital, Freetown.

Source: Voice of America

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