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Guinea’s Supreme Court Begins Election Fraud Hearing Friday

  • Peter Clottey

People walk in front of posters for the presidential elections and instructions on the voting card, Conakry, 25 Jun 2010

People walk in front of posters for the presidential elections and instructions on the voting card, Conakry, 25 Jun 2010

The chairman of Guinea’s Research Institute on Democracy and the Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization says the Supreme Court will Friday begin hearing allegations of voter irregularities during the 27th June presidential election.

Attorney Thierno Balde said expectations are high among Guineans that the Supreme Court’s final decision will be fair.

He said this will pave the way for the run-off election to determine who becomes Guinea’s democratically elected leader.

“There have been different allegations of fraud or sometimes irregularities…for example the (paper) which was supposed to be signed by all the (party) members at the polling stations, just one signed. And, I think there were so many of these mistakes, which were made because of the lack of training of the people who were supervising the vote,” he said.

The electoral body was originally scheduled to release provisional results from the 27th June election 72 hours after the vote. But, faced with logistical problems it petitioned the Supreme Court for an extension, which the court granted.

The move prompted some of the losing candidates and some civil society groups to claim “massive” voter irregularities and intimidation which they said undermined the credibility of the election – a charge the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) denies.

Under Guinea’s constitution, only the two frontrunners in the first round are eligible to participate in the run-off which analysts say has been tentatively scheduled for 18th July.

Attorney Balde said Guineans are hopeful the Supreme Court will be thorough in its ruling ahead of the run-off.

“A decision has to be made in the coming days because you know that after the CENI has announced the results, the political parties (had) eight days to launch their complaints and then the Supreme Court has three days. So, in anyway by the beginning of next week we will get a decision whether we are going to second round or if there are any remaining issues which will be addressed during the past election,” he said.

Analysts said last Sunday’s vote was Guinea’s first free and fair election since it gained independence from former colonial power France in 1958.

Meanwhile, Guinea’s interim leader General Sekouba Konate threatened to resign after he was reportedly accused and insulted by supporters of one of the presidential candidates.

But, attorney Balde said Mr. Konate has been spoken to by both local and international officials to rescind his threat to resign.

“After he (Mr. Konate) made his statement, all of the (big people), the prime minister, the head of the transitional council, some of the religious leaders all of them got together and went to him,” Balde said.