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Africa

Third and 'final' delay for Guinea presidential run-off vote

Video by Carla WESTERHEIDE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-28

Guinean voters will have to wait another week for the country’s long awaited presidential run-off poll after broadcasters announced that the vote had been postponed for a third time, from Oct 31. to Nov. 7.

AFP - Guinea's presidential election run-off, which has already been delayed three times, will now be held on November 7, it has been announced.

"The second round of the election is set for November 7," said a decree issued by the regime's transition president, General Sekouba Konate, which was read on state television on Wednesday.
  
Election officials earlier proposed the election take place on Sunday.
  
But the chairman of the electoral commission (CENI), Siaka Sangare, told state radio and television (RTG) that the new date was "consensual and irrevocable," adding: "I dare say, the last one in this ballot awaited by the Guinean people."
  
A source close to the presidency told AFP that political negotiations continued all night from Tuesday to Wednesday.
  
CENI on Tuesday had fixed Sunday as their preferred poll date, but it was rejected by candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo. Following political and ethnic violence he said peace should be restored before the vote.
  
RTG reported that the two candidates in the runoff, Diallo and Alpha Conde, accompanied by governmental and religious figures would on Thursday tour the regions hardest hit by the violence.
  
Conde had said he had no objection to elections taking place on Sunday.
  
"The priority is to go to elections and then proceed to the desired national reconciliation. The country is deadlocked, its economy paralysed, and we have received no help since sanctions were imposed after the 2008 coup."
  
Poll favourite Diallo, who won 43 percent of votes in the first round to Conde's 18 percent, warned Tuesday the proposed date was "too soon" and that clashes had led to massive displacement of people who would be unable to vote on Sunday.
  
"We do not envisage a poll boycott, but people could feel frustrated because they cannot vote," former prime minister Sidya Toure told AFP on behalf of the pro-Diallo coalition.
  
Human rights groups in Guinea issued a statement Wednesday expressing concern about the scenes of violence that have erupted between supporters of the rival presidential contenders.
  
They cited one incident following rumours that Diallo supporters had poisoned the water distributed to Conde's backers.
  
"After news of poisoning spread in Conakry, some citizens, due to their political affiliation or ethnic origin, were beaten, wounded, some even killed and their homes vandalised in certain neighbourhoods of Conakry and in the interior of the country," the groups' statement said, without giving further details.
  
Konate met Wednesday evening with the two candidates, the head of the electoral commission and the special envoy of Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, who has served as a mediator in Guinea's political crisis.
  
The run-off vote which was supposed to take place on October 24, was postponed as rival parties accused each other of inciting violence and disrupting the organisation of the vote.
  
The first round of voting in June went off peacefully, raising hopes that 25 years of military rule and despotism would finally be brought to an end in the poor but bauxite-rich west African nation.
  
However accusations of fraud and mutual mistrust have led to violent clashes amid rising political and ethnic tensions.

 

Date created : 2010-10-28

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