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Guinea’s Two Presidential Candidates Begin Campaigning Early

  • Peter Clottey

Frontrunners were scheduled to officially begin campaigning two weeks ahead of presidential runoff to be held September 19

The chairman of Guinea’s Research Institute on Democracy and the Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization, said the two leading presidential candidates in the last election have begun campaigning, a day after the government announced the runoff vote will be held on September 19.

Attorney Theirno Balde said the two frontrunners from the June 27 election were scheduled to officially begin campaigning two weeks ahead of the presidential runoff.

“Even before the date was announced, the two political parties, which will contest the second round, have already begun campaigns. Going from house to house talking to the people in there and trying to get more support for the last round. They are trying to mobilize maximum support not only in the capital city, Conakry, but also in the countryside,” he said.

Guinea’s government announced Monday the date of the runoff vote after the presidential hopefuls failed to garner more than 50 percent of the total votes required to win.

According to the electoral code, official campaigns are scheduled to begin two weeks before the Election Day.

Under Guinea’s constitution, only the two leading presidential candidates in the first round election are eligible to participate in the runoff vote. Former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and long time opposition leader Alpha Conde are the only two qualified to contest in the election.

Attorney Balde said the second round date was scheduled following meetings between officials of the electoral commission and the two presidential candidates.

“It has been a compromise date because some people wanted to organize this election before the end of August. And, some people wanted to delay it further saying that the electoral commission is not ready, and that they have to have more time to review all the mistakes which were made during the first round,” Balde said.

Recently, the Supreme Court upheld the preliminary results of the June 27 first-round vote, ruling Mr. Diallo won 44 percent, followed by Alpha Conde with 18 percent.

Attorney Balde said the electoral commission promised to organize an improved election runoff after several parties complained of voter irregularities during the first round of the presidential vote.