News / Africa

    Guinea Presidential Candidates Ready for Sunday's Vote

    A soldier sits amidst election posters of Presidential candidate Alpha Conde in the entrance of the Guinean People Rally (RPG) headquarters in Guinea's capital Conakry Saturday 18 Sept. 2010
    A soldier sits amidst election posters of Presidential candidate Alpha Conde in the entrance of the Guinean People Rally (RPG) headquarters in Guinea's capital Conakry Saturday 18 Sept. 2010

    Both of Guinea's presidential candidates say they are ready to go ahead with Sunday's scheduled run-off, now that military leaders have named a new head of the electoral commission. .

    The campaigns of both former prime minister Cellou Diallo and long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde say they are ready to drop their objections to Sunday's poll and finally put this second-round run-off to the voters.

    Diallo threatened to boycott the vote if Lounceny Camara was not replaced as head of the electoral commission because Diallo says Camara favors the Conde campaign.  The Conde campaign threatened to boycott the vote if Camara was replaced.

    So when Guinea's military ruler General Sekouba Konate named Malian General Siaka Toumani Sangare as the new head of the electoral commission late Tuesday, he kept Lounceny Camara as a deputy chairperson to serve alongside Diallo supporter Hadja Mame Camara as a co-equal deputy chairperson.

    Construction engineer Lansana Kourouma says that makes things fair.

    Kourouma says it is equal now that Conde and Diallo both have deputy chairpeople.  He says voters are pleased with the appointment of General Sangare, who is an election specialist with the International Organization of the Francophonie and was already a technical assistant to the commission.  Kourouma says he thinks the Malian general will be good for the situation.

    Attorney Toure Aboubacar agrees General Sangare's appointment increases the likelihood that Sunday's vote will be held on schedule.

    Aboubacar says with a new electoral commission president, everything should go forward and everything with this vote should work.  He says all Guineans who love their country should now accept the things put in place for the vote to advance the country.  Aboubacar says everyone in Guinea really wants to finish this election.

    June's first round of voting was relatively peaceful.  The second-round run-off was delayed over legal challenges to the results of that vote, then delayed again last month after violence between Diallo and Conde supporters.

    In an interview on state-run television, Guinea's Minister of State Tibou Camara says General Konate's appointment of a new electoral chief clears the last major hurdle to holding this vote.

    Camara says there are no technical obstacles to having the second round run-off this Sunday.  He says members of the electoral commission have reassured him that they are ready.  Camara says General Konate has done many things to advance this transition and it is an injustice that the general's commitment to doing the right thing is not recognized by some politicians.

    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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