Freetown, Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma generally appeared at ease during his campaign for a second term as the president of Sierra Leone. Even when pushing crowds breached his entourage of bodyguards, the 59-year-old maintained a smile.

That confidence proved well-founded. Late Saturday, it was announced Koroma won 58.7 per cent of the vote – enough to avoid a runoff many anticipated he would have to contest with opposition frontrunner Julius Maada Bio.

“You have given me and my party…the mandate to govern our country for the next five years,” Koroma said in a speech made shortly after results were released. “We will focus on creating jobs for youths and on training our youths to seize the immense employment opportunities we are creating.”

Koroma, a former insurance executive who entered politics in 2001, largely campaigned on the accomplishments of his first term in office.