Guinea delays second round of presidential vote

September 16, 2010 12:00 am

, CONAKRY, Sep 16 – The second round of Guinea\’s presidential election will not be held on Sunday as scheduled, a spokesman for the electoral commission said after days of violence.

"There has been a postponement," Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) spokesman Thierno Ceydou Bayo said on Wednesday following a meeting between interim Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore and the two candidates, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde.

"We need two weeks to prepare well," said Bayo, who said the new date for the run-off would be decided by Dore\’s government.

Bayo said one of the reasons for the delay was that the commission was waiting for the arrival of 450,000 new polling cards, which had been ordered from South Africa and were due to arrive "Sunday night to Monday."

Guinea\’s transitional president, General Sekouba Konate, requested intervention by the mediator in the country\’s crisis, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, warning that Guinea was heading for a "dead end."

Konate said in a radio and television address that the postponement of the vote meant that there were lessons to be learnt if the major players were to avoid Guinea "falling into a grave political and social crisis."

Calling on Compaore to meet with the candidates and politicians, Konate declared: "More and more we are moving away from our roadmap. I note with regret… that our country is heading for a dead end."

In June\’s first round voting in Guinea\’s first democratic poll since independence from France in 1958, Diallo won won 43.69 percent and Conde took 18.25 percent.

Conde strongly contested the result, claiming that there was "gigantic fraud" on the part of the electoral commission.
The government on Sunday suspended the election campaign and banned demonstrations after violence in the streets of the capital Conakry left one person dead and 50 injured.

The weekend violence erupted after an announcement Friday that the head of the CENI — who died in Paris on Tuesday — and a top aide had been convicted of electoral fraud and sentenced to a year in prison.

The poor country, which has few commercial assets apart from bauxite, has known decades of autocratic or military rule. It is currently led by a junta headed by Konate, who has worked to hand over power to elected civilians.



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