Sierra Leone declares opposition leader the new president

Sierra Leone's election commission has declared main opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio as the country's president.

National Electoral Commission chairman Mohamed N'Fah Alie Conteh said Wednesday that Bio won the March 31 second round election with 51.81 percent of valid votes cast. The former military leader who was the Sierra Leone Peoples Party candidate defeated the ruling party's Samura Kamara, who received 48.19 percent of the votes.

Tensions rose in the West African nation of 7 million people after neither the ruling All Peoples Congress party nor Bio won the March 7 first round outright. The opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party has not held the presidency since 2007.

This was Bio's second bid for the presidency. He lost in 2012.