Julius Maada Bio has been sworn in as the new president of Sierra Leone. He was inaugurated on Wednesday, just hours after the country’s election commission announced him as the winner of a tight run-off poll.
He defeated establishment candidate Samura Kamara, a former foreign affairs minister and member of the ruling All People’s Congress, APC. Kamara polled 48.19 percent of the votes, while Maada Bio, the candidate of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), polled 51.81 per cent.
The former military junta leader faces “a difficult task of rebuilding the impoverished West African nation’s economy”, says Reuters.
Maada Bio was sworn in just before midnight at a hotel in the capital Freetown.
“This is the dawn of a new era. The people of this great nation have voted to take a new direction,” he said in a speech.
“We have only one country, Sierra Leone, and we are all one people.”
Maada Bio ruled Sierra Leone briefly as head of a military junta in 1996, after the expiration of the two term tenure of outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma.