SecretaryGeneral welcomes peaceful runoff elections in Sierra Leone

10 September 2007This weekend’s presidential run-off election in Sierra Leone was generally orderly and peaceful despite the violence and tensions preceding the polls, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging the country’s people to resolve any future disputes through legal channels. Sierra Leoneans cast their ballots on 8 September in the second-round of presidential elections between Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress and incumbent Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, who are vying to succeed President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.In a statement, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General said he “urges the political parties and people of Sierra Leone to exercise restraint as counting of the ballots proceeds and to resolve all arising disputes through the existing legal channels.”Earlier this month, the two presidential candidates signed a communiqué on measures to try to calm tensions in Sierra Leone.In a statement on the eve of the run-off, Mr. Ban voiced his deep concern over incidents of harassment, intimidation and violence involving supporters of the two main political parties in the West African country, which is seeking to rebuild after a devastating decade-long civil war.The 11 August presidential and parliamentary elections were Sierra Leone’s second since the end of the decade-long civil war in 2002, and the first since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in December 2005. The mission has been replaced by the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL).