Uphold democracy, U.N. tells Sierra Leone

Nov. 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Leaders in Sierra Leone are called on to show the same level of calm as during the elections as vote results are tallied, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued through his spokesman, congratulated Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma for winning a second term in office in Nov. 17 elections.

A decade-long civil war left 50,000 people dead in Sierra Leone before the fighting ended in 2002. The November vote was the third since then and considered peaceful and fair. Opposition leaders, however, said they suspected the election was skewed in favor of Koroma's All People's Congress.

Ban, in his statement, said the conduct of the election showed the country was committed to consolidating its democratic gains.

"At this time, the secretary-general stresses the responsibility of Sierra Leone's political leaders for maintaining the atmosphere of calm that has prevailed so far during the election process," Ban's statement read. "He urges all sides to address any outstanding grievances peacefully and through established national mechanisms and institutions."

Similar sentiments were expressed recently by the U.S. State Department.

Mayoral, local council, parliamentary and presidential elections were the second since peacekeepers from the U.N. Mission in Sierra Leone left the country in 2005.

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