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Court Halts Sierra Leone’s Run-off Election

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A Sierra Leone court in Freetown has granted a request by a member of the ruling party for an injunction to delay a presidential election run-off scheduled for Tuesday.

The party member, Ibrahim Sorie Koroma, filed for the injunction on Thursday, saying there was evidence of electoral fraud that needed to be investigated before the poll could go ahead.

No new date has been set, even as former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived the country for an observer mission.

Jonathan, who is leading the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) Election Observation Mission, arrived Freetown on Friday .

Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, the spokesman to the former president, said Jonathan also led EISA to the first round of the elections on March 7.

In the elections, none of the candidates polled required 55 per cent of votes to win at the first ballot.

EISA had declared the process of the March 7 general elections as peaceful and credible.

Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio, of the Sierra Leone People’s Party – briefly a former military junta leader – will be running against Samura Kamara of the ruling All People’s Congress, after neither of the two front-runners secured an outright majority in the first round.

The largely peaceful nature of the election, and the fact that outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma is willingly stepping down, is seen as a sign of how far Sierra Leone has come since a 1990s civil war characterised by the mutilation of civilians, the sale of conflict diamonds and the widespread recruitment of children as militia fighters.

But tensions over alleged fraud in some districts, and complaints of police harassment against the electoral commission, have marred the process.

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