The Latest: Clashes break out in Sierra Leone on voting day
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The Latest on Sierra Leone’s election (all times local):
Authorities in Sierra Leone’s capital report clashes have broken out amid political tensions on Election Day.
Voters were choosing between 16 candidates, though the skirmishes were reportedly between supporters of the two front-runners.
Riot police have intervened and at least one person has been stabbed in the melee and is being treated for wounds at the hospital.
In a live interview on AYV TV, leading presidential opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio from the SLPP party said that police had made a “rude interruption” at his office, coming to search it without a warrant.
However, the spokesman for the current president, Abdulai Bayratay, said the ruling APC party was “not trying to compromise the peace of the country.”
Sierra Leone’s voters are choosing a new president from among 16 candidates in a race that has sparked debate over dual nationality and eligibility for the country’s highest office.
The front-runners in Wednesday’s vote are Samura Kamara, the incumbent’s pick as successor, and Julius Maada Bio, the man who was defeated in the 2012 election.
The race most likely will head to a second round later in March as observers say it’s unlikely any one candidate will receive 55 percent of the vote.
The incumbent, Ernest Bai Koroma, has served two terms and is barred by the constitution from running again.
Kamara, his hand-picked successor, is largely seen as a favorite though some have argued he should be ineligible as he also has British citizenship.