* Boycott threat to be lifted within days - opposition
* Decision follows meeting with ruling party late on Monday
FREETOWN, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Sierra Leone's main opposition
party has conceded defeat to President Ernest Bai Koroma, weeks
after an election that the incumbent won but the opposition had
complained was marred by fraud.
Koroma secured re-election in the first round of voting last
month but his rival Julius Maada Bio's opposition Sierra Leone
People's Party (SLPP) had announced its boycott of all levels of
government in protest, threatening to undermine an otherwise
widely praised vote.
The opposition change of tack following the vote that is
seen as a test for Sierra Leone's post-war recovery came after a
meeting on Monday between the SLPP and the leadership of
Koroma's All People's Congress party.
"It is a matter of fact, the oath of office has been taken
and he's the president of the country," Banja Tejan-Sie,
secretary general of the SLPP said on Tuesday.
Tejan-Sie said the boycott was likely to be lifted following
a meeting of the SLPP's leadership, due within the next three
Koroma won just under 60 percent of the presidential vote on
Nov. 17, avoiding the need for a run-off, and his APC party
gained eight seats to secure a majority with 67 of the 124 seats
in parliament. The SLPP took 42 seats, losing three.
Sierra Leone has seen a decade of post-conflict
reconstruction, and the country, which has resources including
gold, diamonds, oil and iron ore, has drawn billions of dollars
in state revenues from mining and agriculture deals.
However, it remains one of the least developed nations on
earth and the ruling party said the opposition move would allow
the aid-dependent country to "move forward".
"It has brought a lot of relief to many Sierra Leoneans who
were kind of tense because the main opposition leader had not
met the president," Sheka Tarawalie, Sierra Leone's deputy
minister of information, told Reuters.
"Now he has come out openly to acknowledge the president as
elected leader of the country, the tension has gone away."
A 100-strong observer mission from the European Union said
the advantages of incumbency meant there was no level playing
field for the election but that it was generally free and fair.