A key supporter of one of the two candidates in Guinea’s second round presidential election said his candidate - former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo – is ready to have the much-delayed vote on 24 October.
This comes after a Guinean government spokesman announced Tuesday night on national television that the run-off election will be held on 24 October.
Voters will choose between Mr. Diallo and long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde.
Sydia Toure, who came third in the first round and is now an ally of Mr. Diallo, said his candidate will be ready on October 24, but first he would like a new electoral commission chairman.
“I talked to Cellou (Diallo) some 10 minutes ago, and we absolutely agreed with the date of 24 of October. The only thing we will be sure to happen is to have a new president of the electoral commission,” he said.
Guinean government sources said interim leader Sekouba Konate made the decision after consulting with Guinea’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).
But Toure said the Diallo camp believes the current commission chair was not properly elected.
He also said the decision to have the run-off vote on October 24 came as a surprise to the Diallo camp.
“Even we don’t know. This is the only thing I can tell you because I just heard this just today. After all in Guinea, only the electoral commission has the responsibility to give the date,” Toure said.
Nevertheless Toure said the Diallo camp will go along with the new date.
The other candidate in the upcoming run-off vote, Alpha Conde of the Guinea People’s Rally party had said he would prefer a delay in the vote because he did not want a repeat of the irregularities that marred the June first round vote.
Toure said to delay the run-off vote for four months would be in violation of the Guinean constitution.
“Our constitution is very clear on this matter. We have to have those elections two weeks after the results of the first round. We are going for four months, I think that’s enough,” Toure said.
He said following the death of one member of the electoral commission and the resignation of other members, Guinea needs international intervention to replace those members before the October 24 runoff.
“If we have some help from outside that would l be very good because we need to have neutrality in this election in order for Guineans to accept the results. If the people accept the results of the election, I would have no problem,” Toure said.
Toure said given Guinea’s history of violence, the campaign of candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo was concerned about the possibility of violence during the run-off vote.