Supporters of Guinean presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo clashed with security forces on Monday as rival candidate Alpha Conde claimed victory in a run-off vote that has yet to produce a winner. One person was reported dead in the clashes.
Supporters of presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo clashed with Guinean government forces in Conakry on Monday after Diallo said he would not accept provisional results of Guinea's long-delayed presidential election until claims of widespread fraud are investigated.
At least one person died and dozens were injured in the clashes, a police source told AFP.
Reports of the violence came as Diallo's rival, Alpha Conde, proclaimed himself the winner of the Nov. 7 run-off vote. So far, there has been no official announcement of results.
On Sunday, former premier Diallo renewed his allegations of mass fraud a day before the country’s election commission planned to deliver the final vote count, almost one week after the results were scheduled to appear.
“It’s pretty obvious that he believes the commission will announce that Alpha Conde has won,” said Nicolas Germain, FRANCE 24's special correspondent in Conakry.
In Guinea's capital city soldiers were deployed on most street corners and in force at the electoral commission, where authorities fear that supporters of Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces in Guinea (UDFG) may start rioting.
At a press conference Sunday, Diallo said that delegates of his party had not been able to observe voting in certain regions, and urged the electoral commission to delay announcing results until fraud allegations are investigated. Diallo also said he wanted the electoral commission to cancel the votes in the disputed regions.
“Diallo said that if the second round had been delayed for four months, then the country could also wait a little longer for the proclamation of the results,” Germain said shortly after the press conference.
Diallo picked up 43.69 percent of ballots cast in the first round of voting in June, while Conde of the Rally for the People of Guinea (RPG) took 18.25 percent.
The election was intended to end 52 years of dictatorship and military rule in the mineral-rich west African country.
Delays stoke ethnic tensions
“The results of the second round produced a very equal turnout – the most dangerous outcome,” explained Douglas Yates, a professor of political science at the American University of Paris.
Yates said the repeated delays that followed Diallo’s resounding first round victory had stoked animosity towards Diallo’s Peul ethnic group. Other candidates and ethnic groups formed an anti-Peul coalition around Conde.
“Several thousand Peul people had to flee persecution in districts in the north, and it’s in these districts that Diallo claims he didn’t get a fair chance,” Yates said, warning that for the first time in its history Guinea "appears to be on the verge of inter-communal violence."
A peaceful first round was followed by weeks of rows over results and over the leadership of the election commission, with street clashes erupting between supporters of the rival candidates. Violent confrontations in three separate districts of Conakry on Sep. 12 left one person dead and 50 injured, according to officials.
A close finish between two candidates who have been subjected to persecution and who rally support by appealing to traditional ethnic allegiances has set up a potentially explosive situation ahead of the final results.
Germain said youths gathered outside the headquarters where Diallo gave his press conference could be heard singing "we will not let them steal our victory”.
Schools in the capital Conakry have been closed for the past 10 days, and national television has been broadcasting appeals to avoid election-related violence ahead of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha on Tuesday.
Date created : 2010-11-15