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Sierra Leone opposition cries foul

Nov. 21, 2012 at 11:37 AM   |   Comments

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- An opposition party in Sierra Leone said weekend elections were skewed in favor of the status quo despite widespread assessments of a fair vote.

Voters in Sierra Leone cast ballots in presidential, parliamentary, local council and mayoral elections Saturday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued through his spokesman's office, said "high voter turnout" showed the country had a clear interest in "peace, democracy and development."

Sulaiman Tejan-Sie, secretary general of the opposition People's Party, was quoted by the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN as saying he was "dismayed" by the number of irregularities uncovered since the election.

His party released a publication highlighting allegations of ballot-stuffing and other incidents were the National Electoral Commission was suspected of "directing voters to vote for specific candidates."

IRIN reports that the ruling All People's Congress, led by President Ernest Bai Koroma, has faced allegations of monopolizing power by rival parties.

Saturday's elections were the country's third since civil war ended in 2002 and the second since peacekeepers from the U.N. Mission in Sierra Leone left the country in 2005.

The results of the elections hasn't been announced.

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