A top official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has welcomed the decision by Guinea’s rival parties to support the new chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission ahead of Sunday’s presidential run-off vote.
Sonny Ugoh, communications director of ECOWAS, told VOA poll observers from the regional bloc will monitor the twice-delayed vote.
“We are looking forward expectantly to the conclusion of the democratic process in Guinea, so that they can return to constitutional rule and they can join the rest of ECOWAS in pursuing our agenda of socio-economic development.”
Both of Guinea’s two presidential candidates, former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde, say they are willing to participate in Sunday's election following the replacement of the election commission chief.
Late Tuesday, the interim military government appointed General Siaka Toumany Sangare of Mali to lead the electoral body ahead of the vote. Sangare has been working in Guinea with an international organization of French-speaking countries.
Diallo had threatened to boycott the vote unless the previous commission chief, Lounceny Camara, was fired. Diallo accused him of favoring his opponent. Conde’s campaign had also threatened to boycott if Camara was replaced.
To resolve the dispute, the government made Camara the co-deputy chairperson of the election commission alongside Diallo supporter Hadja Mame Camara.
Ugoh said the regional bloc is hopeful about the prospects of Guinea’s journey towards constitutional rule.
“We will be sending a team to the round-off. As soon as we can confirm that 24th (October) is on, sure, we will dispatch our team to go and observe the elections. We have a responsibility to follow the elections through to the conclusion.”
Logistical problems, street violence, and the death of an election commissioner have already forced two postponements in the second-round of Guinea's first multi-party presidential election in more than 50 years.
Diallo won the first round of the presidential election in June with 44 percent. Mr. Conde was second with 18 percent.