April 5, 2018 / 8:16 AM / in 16 days

Losing candidate in Sierra Leone election plans legal challenge to result

FREETOWN (Reuters) - The losing candidate in Sierra Leone’s presidential election, Samura Kamara, said the voting was marred by fraud and he plans to launch a legal challenge to the result.

FILE PHOTO: Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, Samura Kamara addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Opposition candidate and former military junta leader Maada Bio was declared victor in the election late on Wednesday with 51.81 percent of votes and was sworn in hours later.

“Those results do not reflect the many concerns raised by the party about the massive ballot-stuffing, over-voting, fraudulent voter registers and other electoral irregularities,” Samura Kamara said in an address on state TV after the vote was announced.

“We are challenging the results and we will be taking the appropriate legal actions to get redress and have the result overturned.

The comments from the former foreign affairs minister and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate follow a tense but mostly peaceful campaign to replace outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who could not seek re-election due to term limits.

The relatively smooth transition came as a relief to the country of 7 million people, who in the 1990s endured a civil war fueled by the diamond trade. Since then, its economy has been crippled by the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015 and a recent slump in commodity prices.

Reporting By Umaru Fofana,; Writing by Edward McAllister, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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