17 November 2012

Sierra Leone: Calm Nerves As Polls Close in Sierra Leone Elections

Photo: Tiggy Ridley/IRIN
A policeman uses a poster to show a woman how to mark a ballot correctly (file photo).

Most polling stations across Sierra Leone closed after 10 hours of voting in a general election which saw a massive enthusiastic turnout from the moment polls opened, with large, eager crowds of voters jostling outside balloting points in schools and other public venues in the capital Freetown and across the nation.

According to Richard Howitt, Chief EU Election Observer, "apart from some polling stations opening late, there had been no reports so far of any serious disruptions or violence."

"From what I've seen and heard so far, it's been very smooth with a very good turnout," he added.

The President said he is "very happy that Sierra Leoneans are motivated to vote," adding that the election had been peaceful so far and praising the presence of international observers.

This election has been one of the most closely observed in Africa this year by monitors from the European Union, the Commonwealth and the African Union.

Vote counting has already started in some stations and it will go on till 7pm tonight.

The results have to be declared within 10 days of voting taking place and results from each polling station are posted in front of the polling center.

A candidate is expected to gain 55 percent of the vote to win outright, otherwise, may well go to a second round.

The three main parties in the running are Mr. Koroma's All People's Congress (APC), Mr.Bio's Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC).

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