Opposition candidate and former military junta leader Julius Maada Bio was sworn in as Sierra Leone’s new president late on Wednesday, just hours after the elections commission announced his victory in a tight run-off poll.

Opposition candidate and former military junta leader Julius Maada Bio takes his oath as Sierra Leone’s new president in Freetown, Sierra Leone April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Olivia Acland

Representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Maada Bio won 51.81 percent of votes cast in the March 31 poll, according to results announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday.

He defeated former foreign affairs minister and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, who had held a slight lead based on partial results earlier in the day but in the end garnered 48.19 percent.

Dressed in traditional white robes, Maada Bio was sworn in just before midnight at a hotel in the capital Freetown, raising in the air the Bible upon which he swore the oath of office to the cheers of supporters.

Maada Bio, who briefly ruled Sierra Leone as head of a military junta in 1996, replaces outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma, who could not seek re-election due to term limits.