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Guinea's Political Parties Debate Deposit to Run in Next Month's Presidential Poll

Supporters of presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo attend a meeting with their leaders in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 09 May 2010

Political parties in Guinea are concerned that the high cost of a proposed candidate registration deposit for next month's presidential elections may exclude some candidates.

Guinea's independent electoral commission met with political parties this week to debate a proposed $150,000 registration deposit for candidates to run in the presidential poll planned for June 27.

After the election, the deposit is typically returned to candidates who receive at least five percent of the vote, but some in Guinea are concerned that the proposed amount is too expensive and will exclude smaller, less-moneyed political parties from the race.

Abdoulaye Diallo of the party, the Guinean Union of Democratic Forces, says there were many different opinions at the debate. Some talked of deposits of $5,000, $10,000 or $40,000, he says, while others talked of raising the deposit to $160,000. He says we need to reasonable and not set amounts that will exclude certain candidates. That is why, he says, we have proposed a deposit of $20,000.

Others at the meeting expressed concern that an expensive deposit could eliminate certain candidates and later create frustration and unrest among those candidates' supporters during the vote.

The National Independent Electoral Commission has said it does not intend to fix a registration deposit that would exclude candidates. The commission is considering a reduction of the proposed $150,000.

Dialikatou Diallo, national secretary of the Hope for National Development party, says her party would agree with the government and the electoral commission on a deposit of $100,000. She says that all truly credible candidates should be able to financially support the electoral process, and $100,000 is a reasonable sum.

Guinea's election is just five weeks away. So far, at least five presidential hopefuls have been registered by their parties, but there could be as many ten candidates in the race.

A decision on the registration deposit is expected next week.