Opposition candidate Ernest Koroma has won Sierra Leone's presidential run-off, election officials declared Monday,in what was seen as a crucial test for the war-torncountry's fledgling democratic system.

Koroma received 55 per cent of the 1.7 million votes counted, compared with 45 per cent for the ruling party candidate, Solomon Ekuma Berewa, the currentvice-president and former attorney general, election commission chief Christiana Thorpe said.

Berewa's party, the SLPP, filed a court injunction over the weekend to prevent any more results from the presidential run-off being released.

Thorpe said there were some cases of ballot-stuffing, which forced the invalidation of some polling stations, but the fraud was not enough to affect the outcome of the contest.

International observers have praised the election commission and said the polling was generally transparent, but also noted some cases of fraud.

Berewacan file a challenge with the Supreme Court within seven days of the official result being announced.

Decade-long civil war ended in 2002

The presidential vote was Sierra Leone's first since United Nations peacekeepers withdrew from the west African country two years ago.

Sierra Leone—one of the poorest countries in the world — was ravagedby a decade-long civil war thatended in 2002. Tens of thousands of civilians died in the conflict, which wasfollowed by a series of rigged elections and rampant corruption.

President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was barred by law from running for a third five-year term.

Koroma, 54, led the first round of voting Aug. 11, winning 44 per cent of the vote, compared with 38 per cent for Berewa, 69. However, that margin was not large enough to win outright.

About 2.6 million of Sierra Leone's five million people registered to vote. A simple majority was needed for victory.

With files from the Associated Press