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Concerns Raised About Irregularities In Guinea's Presidential Poll

Candidates, civil society leaders and some observers in Guinea have voiced concern about irregularities in Sunday's presidential poll. A spokesman for the electoral commission reassured Guineans Tuesday of the commission's commitment to transparency and said "no results would be manipulated."

Candidates and observers, however, have raised concerns that logistical challenges and procedural flaws on election day could have undermined what many hoped would be Guinea's first free and fair presidential election since independence in 1958.

An official from the party of Cellou Dallein Diallo, the frontrunner among the 24 presidential hopefuls, said Tuesday that certain delays in publishing results and other irregularities in Conakry could call into question the credibility of the vote.

Guinea's National Council of Civil Society Organizations said it noted attempts at voter fraud in several polling stations, including voters trying to vote multiple times or in multiple polling stations, as well as people trying to vote with voter cards that were not their own or had been falsified.

Council spokesman Bori Diallo said, too, that technical and organizational shortages were noticed, including a misunderstanding of voting procedures and how to use voting material, as well as the late openings of polling stations due to procedural misunderstandings or delays in receiving voting materials.

The council said its observers also reported opened envelopes, missing ballots and other irregularities, along with delays in the counting and the reporting of votes to the central commission.

Spokesman Diallo said despite these challenges, the elections went smoothly. He said during this decisive and sensitive phase, the council called for Guineans to remain calm as they wait for the publication of provisional results.

Observers from the European Union say they are satisfied with Sunday's poll. The European Union said it observed certain logistical difficulties, but did not see any attempts at fraud. E.U. spokesman Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said the poll was free and peaceful, something he said was difficult to imagine just a few months ago. He said this vote occurred after an intense campaign that was open and pluralistic, particularly in the media.

The U.S.-based Carter Center, though, said confusion about voting and counting procedures, delay in allocation of polling stations, and late delivery of voting materials negatively affected the quality of polling.

Guinea's independent electoral commission said it will announce provisional results by the end of the day. If no candidate wins a clear majority in Sunday's vote, a run-off between the two top-scoring candidates is planned for July 18th.