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Cablegate: National Electoral Commission Finishes National Elections

VZCZCXRO9278
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0503 2361310
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241310Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1303
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS FREETOWN 000503

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W, INR/AA (BGRAVES)

E.O. 12958
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PINR KDEM SL
SUBJECT: NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION FINISHES NATIONAL ELECTIONS
TALLY, WILL ANNOUNCE CERTIFIED RESULTS AUGUST 25

REF: A) FREETOWN 501 B) FREETOWN 493 C) FREETOWN 486 D) FREETOWN 484

E) FREETOWN 481

1. (U) On the evening of August 23, the National Electoral
Commission released the official preliminary results of the August
11 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. NEC Chairperson Dr.
Christiana Thorpe announced the certified results will be published
on August 25.

2. (U) In the parliamentary elections, NEC officials reported the
All People's Congress (APC) won a parliamentary majority taking 59
of 112 seats, while the ruling Sierra Leone's People's Party (SLPP)
took 43 seats. The People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC),
the splinter party formed in 2006 by former SLPP party stalwart
Charles Margai, won 10 seats in Parliament.

3. (U) As anticipated, NEC Chairperson Thorpe announced there will
be a presidential runoff scheduled for either September 6 or 8
because no presidential candidate received the requisite 55 percent
for victory. NEC official results show APC presidential candidate
Ernest Koroma won 44.3 percent of the total 1,839,208 votes cast,
while current Vice President and SLPP presidential candidate Solomon
Berewa finished second with 38.9 percent. PMDC presidential
candidate Charles Margai placed third receiving 13.9 of the vote.
The remaining four presidential candidates received less than four
percent of the popular vote.

4. (U) Voter turnout was 75.8 percent with 1,984,106 voters going to
the polls. There were 144,898 invalid votes or 7.3 percent.
According to NEC officials, this is below the internationally
acceptable standard for invalid votes in post-conflict countries
which is about 10 percent, yet in comparison only 3.9 per cent of
votes were found to be void in Liberia's 2005 election. NEC
officials blamed the number of voided votes on insufficient voter
education.

5. (SBU) Per Reftel A message, it will be imperative that there is a
greater presence of international observers during the presidential
runoff election to counter electoral fraud. Post will report full
certified results septel. Post also will plan and report runoff
election monitoring program septel.

HULL

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