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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Kabbah triumphs in Sierra Leone
Freetown celebrations
Kabbah's supporters greet the news
The incumbent president of Sierra Leone, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, has been elected for a new five-year term.

Mr Kabbah won just over 70% of the presidential poll in his country's first post-war elections, and his political party took most of the seats in parliament.

Presidential results
Ahmed Tejan Kabbah: 70.6%
Ernest Koroma: 22.35 %
Alimany Paolo Bangura (rebel candidate): 1.7 %
Six other candidates
It is hoped the elections, held with considerable assistance from a United Nations peacekeeping force, could mark the end of 10 years of conflict and signal a smooth transition from war to democracy.

Mr Kabbah immediately headed to a swearing-in ceremony after the announcement by the National Electoral Commission.

He has avoided having to contest a run-off with his nearest rival, Ernest Koroma of the All People's Congress, by a comfortable margin.

President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah
Kabbah campaigned as a peacemaker
The new president's supporters, wearing his palm frond symbol, danced and sang in the roads of Freetown as taxis honked their horns.

Sierra Leone's electoral commissioner, Walter Nichols, said there had been delays in getting the final results of Tuesday's elections because staff employed by the commission had "been agitating" for their pay.

It is understood that, at one point, some commission staff were prevented from leaving their offices by angry election workers.

Rebels trounced

The BBC's Mark Doyle in Sierra Leone says Mr Kabbah successfully portrayed himself as the candidate who had brought peace to the country.

In the decade-long brutal civil war, the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and some other militia groups made a practice of chopping off the limbs of their opponents.

At Tuesday's polls, the RUF candidate, Alimany Paolo Bangura, took only 1.7 % of the vote.

Its political party failed to take a single seat in the new parliament.

President Kabbah's party, the Sierra Leone Peoples' Party, won 83 of the 112 seats while Mr Koroma's supporters took 27 and the remaining two went to the party of a one-time junta leader, Johnny Paul Koroma.

'Free and fair'

Mr Kabbah, who was a UN diplomat for 20 years before going into politics, succeeded in encouraging a UN peacekeeping force to intervene in 1999 and also won strong military backing from the former colonial power, Britain.

Our correspondent says the British intervention was hugely popular with Sierra Leoneans, and this may have helped Mr Kabbah to electoral victory.

International observers have endorsed the election in Sierra Leone as largely free and fair.

Observers from the Commonwealth, European Union and the United States Carter Center said that, although there were logistical problems, these were not enough to affect the overall result.

The BBC's Sanjay Dasgupta
"People danced on the streets"
See also:

14 May 02 | Africa
Sierra Leone voting ends
11 May 02 | Africa
S Leone campaign ends in riots
10 May 02 | Africa
Sierra Leone troops vote early
28 Mar 02 | Africa
Sankoh barred from poll
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