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Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Sierra Leone to delay elections
President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (file)
President Kabbah will not be standing in the election
Sierra Leone has said that it is pushing back the date of presidential and legislative elections by two weeks.

The polls, the first since UN peacekeepers left in 2005, had been scheduled to take place on 28 July.

But electoral officials said that the original date does not allow sufficient time from the dissolving of parliament to organise an election.

The opposition criticised the president's original choice of date, saying it had been "arbitrary".

Test poll

The original date for the elections was named over a year in advance by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who will not be eligible for re-election.

The new date set for elections is 11 August which the electoral commission says will give them enough time to organise the poll, including obtaining all nominations and printing ballot papers.

Parliament will be dissolved on 26 June.

Correspondents say the polls will be a test of whether Sierra Leone is on the road to full recovery from the brutal 10-year civil war, which ended in 2002.

President Kabbah and his Sierra Leone People's Party secured a landslide victory in the May 2002 elections, held with UN peacekeepers still in the country.

Peacekeepers were deployed in 2000 to enforce a ceasefire between the government and the Revolutionary United Front rebel group, but it was only in 2001 that the UN force managed to secure formerly rebel-held areas.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Sierra Leone
25 May 06 |  Country profiles
Who should set election dates?
04 Aug 06 |  Africa

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