News / Africa

    Guinea Electoral Commission to Decide New Date for Vote

    Guinean soldiers remove boxes filled with electoral materials from a warehouse on fire in a military camp in Conakry, 16 Sep 2010
    Guinean soldiers remove boxes filled with electoral materials from a warehouse on fire in a military camp in Conakry, 16 Sep 2010

    Guinea's Electoral Commission will meet again with interim Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore to try to find a new date for the country's postponed presidential election. Members of the electoral commission say they are hopeful this meeting will produce a new date for the poll after the commission failed to meet with Prime Minister Dore late Thursday.

    Guinea's presidential run-off was postponed and all campaigning suspended after two days of violence between supporters of former prime minister Cellou Diallo and long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde. Police used tear gas to break up clashes that followed last week's conviction of two senior electoral officials found guilty of falsifying results from June's first round of voting.

    Conde's campaign director Makale Traore says there is no point rushing ahead with a vote that would be so flawed people will reject its outcome.

    Traore says everyone now understands that it is more important to correct the irregularities than to fix a date. Traore says Conde's party wants to have transparent elections when all the flaws have been corrected, so the results of the vote will be accepted by all Guineans.

    Voter M'Mah Camara says she was happy that the vote has been postponed.

    Camara says nothing is organized for the vote, so having an election now would not be good for the country or its people. Guinea has already suffered enough, she says. It is better to give the electoral commission one or two weeks to better prepare.

    The electoral commission itself says it is not ready for the vote because it is still waiting for the delivery of 450,000 new polling cards and is rushing to establish more than 1,000 new polling stations for voters in rural areas.

    Voter Abdou Diaby says these logistical delays undermine the commission's credibility

    Diaby says an institution like the National Independent Electoral Commission has every means the State has provided - financial means and logistics. Even so this institution is behaving like this. It's shameful, he says. It's humiliating.

    Cellou Diallo supporters say Alpha Conde's campaign wants the poll delayed because Diallo won more than twice as many votes as Conde in the first round, making him the clear frontrunner in this head-to-head run-off.

    Mamadou Bah Baddikoo, the spokesman for the alliance of political parties backing Diallo, says the law needs to be respected for elections to take place. He says Conde's campaign should stop their delaying tactics and that it's not possible to come out each morning with a new request to delay the elections indefinitely. He says it's not solely up to the candidates to impose conditions which vary all the time. Baddikoo says the Guinean people have been waiting for this election for a long time and it's time for equivocations to stop.

    Voter Salematou Bangoura agrees that Sunday's vote should have gone ahead as planned.

    Bangoura says delaying the vote is not good because people now really want to have a new president. After everything that has happened in Guinea, the country needs a new president, a new president who will help young people.

    This vote is meant to return the country to constitutional order after nearly two years of military rule. The acting military chief, General Sekouba Konate, has reaffirmed his support for the electoral process and says soldiers will back whomever emerges as the winner.

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