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Carter Center Says it Found no 'Systematic Fraud' in Guinea’s Vote

  • Peter Clottey

A top official of the U.S.-based Carter Center poll observer team said his organization did not see cases of systematic fraud during last Sunday’s Guinea presidential run-off election.

Randall Harbor, field office director of the Carter Center poll observer team said Guinea’s Independent National Electoral Commission organized, in his words, a much better presidential run-off vote than the June 27 first round.

Harbor said officials of the electoral body seemed to be well trained ahead of the November 7 round-off vote.

“There had been a lot of training during the interim; materials arrived on time, polling stations opened on time, [and] in general, the population was well-behaved… following the closing of the polling stations, the results were transferred to tabulation centers in a rather orderly fashion. So, we did not observe any major problems during election day.”

Security forces are on alert across Guinea's capital, Conakry, one day after veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde was named the winner of the country's run-off presidential election.

At least 66 people have been reported injured in violence since results of the poll were announced late Monday. Sixteen were said to be in critical condition, mostly with gunshot wounds.

Guinea's military rulers have banned all public demonstrations and say they will not allow any violence to disrupt the transition to civilian rule.

Carter Center official Harbor said his team did not see proof of alleged voter intimidation and fraud during the presidential run-off vote.

“We followed that also closely at the CENI [electoral commission] and there were rumors or allegations of [fraud in some] polling stations. And those polling stations, if that was the case, they would have been identified during the verification process. So, we did not have evidence of that,” Harbor said.

“There is a legal mechanism for complaints to be resolved now to the Supreme Court. And so we encourage any party that felt that there were rigging or any kind of malpractice to take their complaints to legal channels and that now will be through the Supreme Court,” he added.

Despite the tension, supporters of Mr. Conde cheered in the streets as he toured districts in the capital Tuesday following morning prayers. The president-elect said Guineans voted calmly and with great maturity despite what he said were many provocations.

The election commission says Mr. Conde won 52.5 percent of the vote, while former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo received 47.5 percent. Mr. Diallo says he will contest the results.

International observers have said the voting on November 7 appeared to be free and fair. However, Mr. Diallo says violence in the cities of Siguiri and Kouroussa drove thousands of people from his ethnic group, known as the Peul or Fulani, from their homes, keeping down his vote totals.

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