Guinea's Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the results of last month's presidential election paving the way for a runoff.
A number of losing candidates, including former Prime Minister Sidya Toure, had challenged the results of the June 27 first round vote, alleging fraud.
But, the high court Tuesday night upheld the preliminary results, saying former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo won 44 percent of the vote followed by opposition leader Alpha Conde with 18 percent.
The court ruled that both candidates will meet in a runoff election, the date yet to be determined.
Mamadou Dian Balde, editor-in-chief of L'Independant and Le Democrate weekly newspapers in Guinea's capital, Conakry, said Guineans were not surprised by the Supreme Court decision.
“People were not surprised because, for the first time, the CENI (Guinea’s Independent National Electoral Commission) about the first results, said Alpha Conde and Cellou Diallo were the two candidates who were qualified for the second part of the presidential election. Sidya Toure was the third,” he said.
A man puts up electoral posters on a wall in a street of Conakry ahead of Guinea's first free election since independence in 1958., 24 Jun 2010
Supporters of Sidya Toure’s Union of Republican Forces (UFR) party said their candidate was cheated out of the second place position to third during the first round.
Balde said the Supreme Court carefully considered all the evidence.
“I think the Supreme Court did a good work because they delayed the vote of [the towns of] Mandiana, Kakan, and Matam because the CENI didn’t give them results about those areas,” Balde said.
Toure had said he would abide by whatever ruling the Supreme Court would make, but he would not say which of the two candidates in the runoff he would support.
Balde said both Lansana Kouyate and Toure, the two losing candidates in the first round, are likely to throw their support behind Cellou Diallo, the first place finisher in the first round.
“Sidya Toure and Lansana Kouyate, I think that the both will support Cellou Dalein Diallo because Sidya Toure said that Sekouba Konate helped Alpha Conde against him [Toure]. I don’t think that he will go behind [support] Alpha Conde after saying that. So, if Sidya has to support someone, I think it will be Cellou Dalein Diallo,” Balde said.
General Konate, Guinea’s minister of defense, became interim president after military junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was flown to Morocco after being shot in the head by a bodyguard.
Balde said there is a likelihood that political realignment in the second round might happen along ethnic lines.
“I think that Sidya Toure’s people, who are behind him, are Soussou people from Conakry and Boke because his ethnic group Dialonke is a minority. Those Soussou people, Alpha Conde is trying to get them because Alpha Conde was born in Boke, a Soussou town. So, even if Sidya Toure call his people to support Cellou Diallo, who is a Fulani, the Soussou people won’t do that,” Balde said.
Balde said Cellou Diallo will likely win the runoff.