Sierra Leone frontrunners to contest runoff after first-round stalemate

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A presidential runoff will be held in Sierra Leone on March 27, between the top two runners since none of the candidates obtained at least 55 percent of the ballot in the first round, Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commission (NEC) said on Tuesday.

Sierra Leone's All People's Congress presidential candidate Samura Kamara waves to supporters during a campaign rally in Mekeni, northen Sierra Leone, March 5, 2018.

Turnout appeared to be around 85 percent of Sierra Leone's 3.1 million voters.

The APC and the SLPP have dominated Sierra Leone politics since independence from Britain in 1961.

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The National Grand Coalition headed by former United Nations diplomat Kandeh Yumkella, which is hoping to inflict damage on the two-party system, stood at 6.69 percent, the NEC said.

President Ernest Bai Koroma, who can not run again after consecutive five-year terms, anointed Kamara as his successor.

Meanwhile police said they made several arrests in the capital Freetown and in the northern Kono region after unrest broke out between rival political groups. The West African nation's economy is recovering from a slump in iron-ore prices and the worst-ever Ebola outbreak that killed thousands of people and isolated the country.

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