Promises and Party Divisions Abound in Sierra Leone’s Wide-Open Presidential Race

President Ernest Bai Koroma, center, is flanked by then-Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo, at the opening of the China Friendship Hospital, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sept. 25, 2014 (AP photo by Michael Duff).
President Ernest Bai Koroma, center, is flanked by then-Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo, at the opening of the China Friendship Hospital, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sept. 25, 2014 (AP photo by Michael Duff).
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Voters in Sierra Leone head to the polls Wednesday in a presidential election that will likely go to a second round, with none of the leading contenders looking strong enough to top the 55 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Six frontrunners—among the 16 candidates that will be on the ballot—appeared in a televised debate on Feb. 15 that for the first time ever included all major candidates. Broadcast on national television and across radio networks, the debate captured how competitive the race is, as term-limited President Ernest Bai Koroma’s decade in office comes to an end. Koroma’s All People’s […]

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