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Diallo Aide Expects Sunday Vote in Guinea Despite Violence

  • Peter Clottey

Candidate for the Guinean presidency Cellou Dalein Diallo smiles to the crowd, 27 Jun 2010

Candidate for the Guinean presidency Cellou Dalein Diallo smiles to the crowd, 27 Jun 2010

A top official of the Union of Democratic Forces in Guinea (UDFG) said supporters of presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo are not interested in committing violence ahead of Sunday’s second round vote.

Yousouff Sylla, a special adviser to Mr. Diallo, predicted the vote will proceed as planned despite demands by supporters of the other candidate, opposition leader Alpha Conde, that the vote be postponed.

“The [interim] Prime Minister [Jean-Marie Dore] met them [Diallo and Conde] separately just to inform them that we need order and safety for everybody to go peacefully and vote on the 19th of September as scheduled,” he said.

The meeting followed violent clashes between supporters of both candidates over the weekend that left at least one dead and dozens injured. The government has banned street protests.

Interim Prime Minister Dore Monday called on both candidates to ensure that their supporters do not engage in violence during the vote.

The independent electoral commission suspended presidential campaigning. This prompted Conde supporters to demand the suspension of the vote.

But, Sylla rejected the call for the postponement saying his party is ready to win Sunday’s election run-off.

“Mr. Diallo has been clear about this [and] he explained that, normally, the election should have been held on the 14th of August," he said. "But, the body responsible for the election asked for it to be postponed. As we can see it, Mr. Conde is still not ready. Just remember that he got 18.25 percent in the first round and we got 44 percent. He has a major gap to fill.”

Some observers have criticized both candidates for the violence following their agreement with mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore. Both presidential aspirants agreed to encourage their supporters to desist from engaging in violence ahead of Sunday’s run-off.

But, some Guineans are concerned the vote could be marred by violent clashes in the country with a long history of ethnic animosity.