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Former PM Diallo leads opponent Conde going into run-off vote

Video by Oliver FARRY

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-03

Ex-Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, left, and opponent Alpha Conde will face off in a second round of voting to become Guinea's first freely-elected president. Diallo won 39.72 percent of votes, while Conde took 20.67 percent.

AFP - Ex-prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and veteran opponent Alpha Conde will face up in a second round of voting to become Guinea's first freely-elected president, poll results showed Friday.
  
The two frontrunners topped a group of 24 presidential hopefuls in the first round of the closely-watched election, winning 39.72 percent and 20.67 percent respectively.
  
"The two candidates in first position, in order, are Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde, and will be the two candidates for the second round," the president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Ben Sekou Sylla announced to media and candidates' representatives late Friday night.
  
According to CENI, the third favourite of Sunday's poll, another former prime minister Sidya Toure, won 15.60 percent of the votes.
  
The official voter turnout was 77 percent, with 3.3 million voters out of 4.2 million registered participating in the first democratic election since independence from France in 1958.
  
Cellou Dalein Diallo, 58, was prime minister several times under General Lansana Conte, who came to power via a military coup in 1984 and ruled with an iron fist for 24 years.
  
An economist by trade he notably headed the government from December 2004 until his ouster in 2006 amid a scramble for influence while the president was gravely ill.
  
He is a member of the Fulani ethnic group, one of the most important in Guinea, and has a stronghold in middle-Guinea and the capital Conakry.
  
Nine months ago, Diallo was badly hurt during a massacre of 157 opponents to the military junta which came to power after Conte's death in 2008, led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camamra. 
  
Alpha Conde, 73, has been an opponent to each one of the three heads of state in Guinea since independence and it is his third bid at the top job.
  
Sentenced to death in absentia by the regime of "father of independence" and president-for-life Ahmed Sekou Toure in 1970, while living in France, he later spent two and a half years in prison under Conte for "endangering state security."
  
Of the Malinke ethnic group, he has a stronghold in Upper Guinea.
  
While the historic vote was widely hailed as peaceful the majority of candidates alleged widespread fraud and irregularities.
  
Among the accusations are claims of ballot-stuffing, false polling stations and ballot boxes that disappeared and later re-appeared, with opposition figures charging the election commission itself was involved in foul play.
  
The Supreme Court will receive complaints for eight days from Saturday, on which it will then have three days to rule.
  
Initial results were delayed by two days after the Supreme Court granted an extension citing "difficulties concerning logistics, transport and security".
  
On Friday night, joyous supporters of Diallo amassed outside his house in a Conakry suburb shouting "we have won!"
  
Diallo, who announced his score earlier in the day, called on his supporters to keep their "cool" ahead of the crucial second round.
  
Conde could not be reached for comment.
  
Former presidents Sekou Toure and Conte together represent half a century of dictatorship-rule in the west African country which, while poor, has enormous mineral wealth, notably in aluminium ore.
  
Mamadi Kaba, representative in Guinea for the human rights group RADDHO said: "The best gift that politicians can give the people of Guinea is to accept the results and not give the army reason to keep power after 25 years of military regimes."
  
On Thursday, UN special representative for West Africa Said Djinnit urged "all candidates and their supporters to continue to show restraint and civility in order to preserve the atmosphere of calm and serenity."

Date created : 2010-07-03

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