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Mediator Urges Guinea to Quickly Organize Run-Off Election

West Africa's mediator to Guinea and Burkino Faso President Blaise Compaore is urging Guinea to organize the second round of presidential elections as soon as possible.

Guinea held the first round of its presidential poll on June 27. Many of the first-round candidates contested provisional results, but on July 20 the Supreme Court overruled those challenges and announced official results.

According to Guinea's electoral code, a run-off between the two top-scoring candidates could take place two weeks later, but the electoral commission has not announced a date for the second round.

Tuesday in Conakry, Burkinabe president and regional mediator to Guinea, Blaise Compaore, urged the country not to delay in organizing the poll.

Mr. Compaore says the second round should be organized as quickly as possible. He says if you allow a lot of space and time between two rounds of voting, new complications can arise that disrupt the electoral process. He says Guinea is setting an example for other countries and should not let the opportunity slip through its fingers.

The presidential poll is meant to return the country to civilian government after a military coup in December 2008.

The Economic Community of West African States appointed Mr. Compaore to mediate the Guinea crisis after a military attack on an opposition protest in September of last year left 150 dead and sparked international investigations.

A regionally-backed transitional government was set up in January to organize presidential elections.

The head of the transitional government, General Sekouba Konate, says much remains to be done before Guinea can pronounce its mission accomplished. He says the first round of voting was organized in peace, order and discipline. He says that vote may not have been perfect, but it enabled Guinea to advance in what has turned out to be a more complicated task than anticipated.

Former Prime Minister Cellou Dallein Diallo led the first round of voting and long-time opposition leader, Alpha Conde, came in second. Mr. Diallo has called for the second round to take place this month.

Election authorities in Guinea say they are working to set a date for the run-off and to fix logistical challenges and irregularities seen in the first round of voting.

President Compaore says every country encounters difficulties in organizing elections, but it is encouraging to see Guinea moving toward a second round with the intention of repairing imperfections and shortcomings to make that vote truly transparent.

Many hope the poll will be Guinea's first free and fair presidential poll since independence and mark an end to more than 50 years of authoritarian rule in the West African country.