Sierra Leone: President pledges to enforce agreement with opposition

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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio pledged on Tuesday evening to fully implement a recent agreement reached with the opposition under international auspices to overcome tensions exacerbated by his disputed re-election this year.

In a speech, Mr Bio also affirmed the need to re-examine the electoral system.

Julius Maada, who was first elected in 2018, was re-elected in June in the first round, with 56.17% of the vote, according to the results published by the electoral commission.

However, foreign observers condemned inconsistencies and a lack of transparency in the count, as well as acts of violence and intimidation.

The main opposition party, the All People’s Congress Party (APC), deemed the presidential, as well as the parliamentary and local elections, rigged, and decided to boycott parliament and local councils.

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The government and the APC reached an agreement last week under the mediation of the Commonwealth, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The APC agreed to put an end to its boycott in exchange for an end to the detentions and court cases that it claims are politically motivated.

They also agreed to set up an inter-party committee to review the June elections with the partners involved in the mediation. Mr Bio affirmed on Tuesday evening the need to “put aside (the) differences”, and called for “unity and reconciliation”.

The provisions of the agreement “will be given the highest attention by my government”, he said. “The government will work with the main opposition party and all the other political parties to ensure that it (the agreement) is applied in full”.”Re-examining our electoral system is essential to strengthen our democracy”, he added.

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