News / Africa

    Guinea Electoral Commission Delays Sunday Vote

    no new date set for vote which has been delayed several times

    The new president of the electoral committee in Guinea Malian General Siaka Toumani Sangare poses for a photograph in Conakry on October 20, 2010.
    The new president of the electoral committee in Guinea Malian General Siaka Toumani Sangare poses for a photograph in Conakry on October 20, 2010.

    Guinea's electoral commission is delaying Sunday's second-round presidential runoff.

    The new head of Guinea's electoral commission says there will be no voting Sunday because the country is not ready.

    Malian General Siaka Toumany Sangare says it is clear to everyone that Sunday's round of voting is not feasible, chiefly because of problems with voter registration.

    The frontrunner in this second round, former prime minister Cellou Diallo, met with Sangare Friday and says they discussed potential threats to the process including reports of parallel electoral lists and voter cards.

    Sangare also met with Diallo's challenger - long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde - after Conde rallied thousands of supporters in the capital. Some of those supporters got sick after drinking water at the rally. Conde supporters marched through parts of the capital late Friday saying the water was poisoned by Diallo supporters.

    Such is the level of political tension in Guinea in a week when two Diallo supporters were shot and killed by police during protests against the previous head of the electoral commission, who they say favored Conde.

    Interim military leader General Sekouba Konate's appointment of Sangare appears to have resolved that dispute with both candidates now getting a deputy co-chairperson on the commission.

    Sangare says he wants to quickly create the conditions for a vote that will be acceptable to everyone. He says there is no point rushing forward with a poorly-planned poll, the results of which will be questioned. But he gave no new date for the vote.

    Sangare says this is a historic opportunity for Guinea and the commission will work to set a new poll date in as short a time as possible after consulting with everyone involved in the process, including the two candidates.

    Asking the people of Guinea to have confidence in his impartiality and independence, Sangare said he will work to set a reasonable and realistic date for this vote that he said will be respected. No further delay.

    General Konate is trying to return Guinea to civilian rule nearly two years after soldiers took power in a military coup following the death of long-time leader Lansana Conte.

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