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ECOWAS Upbeat about Peaceful, Fair Guinea Election Run-Off

  • Peter Clottey

A senior official with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed optimism that Guinea’s presidential election run-off scheduled for 18th July will be peaceful and credible.

ECOWAS political director Abdel-Fatau Musah said there are enough indications to show that, for the first time, Guineans are excited and eager to elect a democratic president.

“ECOWAS’s view is optimistic. Yes, one or two candidates have expressed their wish to lodge a complaint about irregularities and all that, and that is their legal right according to the constitution. But, ECOWAS is very confident that we are going to have a successful run-off election in Guinea,” he said.

Losing candidates in the 27th June presidential election accused Guinea’s Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of vote rigging after logistical constraints prevented the electoral body from promptly declaring provisional results of the vote.

Provisional results released by the electoral commission show former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo won 39.72 percent of the vote in last Sunday's presidential poll, while long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde, who came in second, garnered 20.67 percent.

Guinea’s Supreme Court is expected to confirm the provisional results before the two leading presidential candidates will contest in the election run-off.

Many observers say the 27th June vote was the first time Guinea’s electoral commission has organized an election without an incumbent candidate. Previous elections were judged to have been manipulated in favor of the ruling party and incumbent president.

According to the electoral commission, about 77 percent of Guinea’s four million registered voters fully participated in the vote.

Meanwhile, one of the officials of the electoral commission linked to one of the presidential contestants reportedly resigned after accusing the electoral commission of failing to fully apply Guinea’s electoral code.

But, ECOWAS political director Musah said that, despite the challenges, last Sunday’s election was credible.

“Now, we’ve had an Independent Electoral Commission in which there are representatives of the same political parties some of which are now complaining about the irregularities, and what have you,” he said.

Poll observers that monitored the election, including ECOWAS observers, applauded the vote in a country analysts say has been ruled by dictators since it gained independence from colonial power France in 1958.