Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

#Varoufexit: Greece's Finance Minister Bows Out

Read more

THE DEBATE

What now? Uncertainty for Greece and for Europe - part 1

Read more

THE DEBATE

What now? Uncertainty for Greece and for Europe - part 2

Read more

REVISITED

One year after Gaza war, residents still struggling to survive

Read more

REPORTERS

Libya in search of unity

Read more

ENCORE!

Tina Arena: Love, loss and la langue française

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

History’s worst tragedies: Would you have resisted?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Lithuanian president: 'Greek govt is not willing to take responsibility'

Read more

FOCUS

Violence and chaos await migrants in Libya

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2010-07-14

Guinea: the new dawn

After 52 years of dictatorship, voters in Guinea sincerely believe they have an opportunity to change their country through peaceful elections.

7 am, the sun rises over Conakry. Already queues have formed outside polling stations. Voters waiting in line, clutching their registration card, eager to cast their ballot in what could be the country’s first free and faire election since independence from France in 1958.

Guineans have been waiting for this moment for decades and at last, it seems within grasp. The election is taking place on schedule and the country’s strongman, General Sékouba Konaté, has promised to hand over power to whoever wins.

“We’re voting without any arguments, without fighting, without racism…I’m happy to see my people vote like this, without any problems!” says an old man minutes after casting his ballot. “In previous elections, my father would vote for the whole family, but this time around, I came out to vote for my candidate…no obligation, it’s a free election and it’s fair!” explains a young woman who has just voted for the first time.

24 candidates ran in the election and campaigned throughout the country. Many are hardly known, but there are several political heavyweights in Guinea such as Cellou Dalein Diallo, Sidya Touré or Lansana Kouyaté, all former Prime Ministers during Lansana Conté’s corrupt rule. Also in the running, Alpha Condé, who has opposed every regime since independence.

Over time, Guineans have become accustomed to a local specialty: massive voter fraud. Alpha Camara, for instance, remembers how it was done. He worked in polling stations during the last two presidential elections. Like many, he did what he was told and when the time came to count the results, he stuffed the ballot box: “We had to stuff the ballot box! Citizens had come out to vote, so when we saw there weren’t enough votes for the president, we would stuff the envelopes…” he explained to France 24.

This time however, the election is largely considered to have been free and fair. The second round will pit Cellou Dalein Diallo against Alpha Condé. Provided the country’s nascent democracy follows its course, one of them will soon be the next President of Guinea. The people’s choice. At last.
 

By Cyril VANIER , Alexandra RENARD

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-07-03 Libya

Libya in search of unity

Four years after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya is deeply divided with two governments and two armies. The Islamist militia Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) controls the capital Tripoli....

Read more

2015-06-26 Kenya

Kenya's vicious circle: Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Last April, two years after the massacre at the Nairobi shopping mall, Kenya was again plunged into horror. At Garissa University in eastern Kenya, 148 students were shot dead in...

Read more

2015-06-12 Burma

The Great Rohingya 'Exodus'

In Burma, the stateless Rohingya minority, estimated at 1.3 million people, is systematically discriminated against by both the authorities and extremist Buddhist monks.

Read more

2015-06-05 Ukraine

Ukraine: A phoney war in strategic Mariupol

Mariupol is a strategic port on the Sea of Azov in eastern Ukraine. It is one of the last major eastern cities still controlled by Kiev, but it remains under constant threat from...

Read more

2015-05-29 Iraq

Video - Abu Azrael: ‘Iraq’s Rambo’

In the Iraqi army and on social networks, he’s an icon. Abu Azrael, a Rambo-like Shiite militiaman, has helped push back the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. Our reporters went...

Read more