Guinea’s presidential election run-off on Sunday cancelled
Special to USAfricaonline.com
The run-off in Guinea’s presidential election scheduled for this weekend has been postponed, the new head of the country’s electoral commission said Friday, amid mutual accusations of violence by rival parties.
“It appears clear to everyone that Sunday’s round (of the election) is not feasible,” Siaka Toumani Sangare of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said.
“A reasonable and realistic date will be set” later, he added after two days of consultations with the political factions in Guinea.
It is the second time the run-off vote has been delayed in the presidential contest between former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, who won 43 percent of the vote in the June 27 first round, against longtime opposition leader Alpha Conde who garnered 18 percent of the vote.
But since the first round, both sides have charged their opponent’s supporters with inciting violence and disrupting the organisation of the vote, which aims to return the country to civilian rule after 25 years of military regimes, dictatorship and corruption.
Diallo said Friday that he and General Sangare had “together evaluated the risks and threats (…) hanging over the electoral process. There is talk of parallel electoral lists and parallel voters’ cards that have been seized.”
Diallo also denounced “some attacks” by backers of his rival but gave no details.
The vice-president of Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), Amadou Oury Ba, however, claimed that people who attended a rally Thursday were “attacked by militants of (Conde’s) Rally of the Guinean People (RPG). There were several wounded of whom one died.”
No independent source could be found to confirm the UFDG’s claim which RPG party officials denied.
“RPG activists attacked nobody. We are peaceful. It is they who are violent,” RPG spokesman Ahmed Tidiane Traore said.
Sangare later went to RPG party headquarters to see aides to Conde, who has challenged successive regimes since Guinea’s independence from France in 1958. On Tuesday, Diallo’s supporters clashed with the security forces, who used live ammunition and wounded several dozen people, according to witnesses and medical sources. Two people were killed.
The demonstrators wanted the dismissal of the former CENI president Lounceny Camara, whom they judged to be too close to Conde, and who faces trial for alleged vote-rigging in the first round.
The nomination of Sangare, a Malian, by Guinea’s interim military ruler General Sekouba Konate has calmed down the situation.
The United States said it hoped Guinea would avoid violence and reschedule the vote soon.
“We’re hopeful that the people of Guinea will avoid significant violence,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley. “We also hope that the government will reschedule as soon as possible.”
Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore, the mediator in Guinea’s political crisis, said earlier Friday that whether or not the vote was delayed, the important thing is for Guinea to emerge “peacefully” from military rule.
Earlier Friday renowned trade unionist Rabiatou Serah Diallo, president of the National Transition Council that acts as a parliament, seemed favourable to a postponement.
“The second round of the elections are of capital importance for our country and for Africa. We need to succeed, to hold transparent, democratic elections that won’t be contested,” she said, “because we don’t want any more violence in this country.” ref: AFP