April 2, 2018 / 2:37 PM / 2 years ago

Sierra Leone opposition says wins presidential poll, ruling party disputes

FILE PHOTO: Julius Maada Bio, the presidential candidate for the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), carries his daughter as he casts his vote during a presidential run-off in Freetown, Sierra Leone March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Olivia Acland/File Photo

FREETOWN (Reuters) - The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) said on Monday its candidate Julius Maada Bio had won a presidential run-off election according to its own compilation of results, while the ruling party said it held a “comfortable lead”.

A spokesman for the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) told Reuters that its candidate Samura Kamara was ahead based on a tabulation of around 83 percent of the ballots cast in Saturday’s poll.

Maada Bio, who briefly ruled the West African country as head of a military junta in 1996, eked out a narrow victory in the first round on March 7 with 43.3 percent of the votes compared to 42.7 for Kamara.

According to the SLPP’s tabulation distributed at news conference in the capital Freetown, Maada Bio took 54.11 percent of votes in the run-off with Kamara garnering 45.89 percent.

Sierra Leone’s National Elections Commission has not announced any results from the election, which was delayed several days due to a complaint of fraud lodged by a member of the APC.

Maada Bio and Kamara are competing to replace outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who was not allowed to run due to constitutional term limits.

Reporting by Seun Sanni; Additional reporting by Sofia Christensen and Umaru Fofana; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Sofia Christensen and Alison Williams

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