Koroma wins Sierra Leone presidential election

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FREETOWN, Sep 17 (Reuters) Sierra Leone opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma has won the West African country's presidential election, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said today.

It said the candidate of the opposition All People's Congress (APC) had won 54.6 percent of the votes from the September 8 run-off poll, while his rival, Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), obtained 45.4 per cent.

''Ernest Bai Koroma has been duly elected president of the Republic of Sierra Leone,'' NEC chairperson Christiana Thorpe told a news conference in Freetown.

Cheering supporters of Koroma ran through the streets of the capital.

The NEC declared Koroma the winner despite an announcement by the SLPP at the weekend that it would seek a court injunction to prevent any more results from the tense presidential run-off being released because it said those declared so far were not credible.

The election was seen as a test of the former British colony's recovery from a 1991-2002 civil war, one of modern Africa's most brutal in which 50,000 people were killed and children were kidnapped, drugged and forced to fight.

The polls were the first since United Nations peacekeepers left two years ago.

REUTERS SKB PM1701

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