Alpha Conde declared winner in Guinea presidential run-off
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Alpha Conde has won Guinea's presidency with 52.52 percent of votes cast in a Nov. 7 run-off against former premier Cellou Dalein Diallo, the nation's election commission said Monday. The results followed a day of clashes that left one person dead.
Guinea's veteran opposition politician Alpha Conde has won the country's long-delayed, first democratic presidential election with 52.52 percent of votes, according to official preliminary results released late on Monday.
Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) President Siaka Sangara announced Conde had received 1,474,666 votes in the country's 28 districts, against 1,333,666 votes, or 47.48 percent, for his opponent Cellou Dalein Diallo.
Conde’s victory was greeted with cries of “Long live democracy, long live change!”, according to Pauline Simonet, FRANCE 24’s special correspondent in the Guinean capital, Conakry.
Results amid rising tensions
But there are widespread fears that despite the breakthrough that this election represents for Guinea, instability could continue. "If the two leaders don’t get along and if one of them does not recognise his defeat, there is a risk that the army could return to power,” Antoine Glaser, a French journalist specialised in Africa, told FRANCE 24.
Earlier in the day, Diallo supporters clashed with security forces as rival candidate Alpha Conde claimed victory in the run-off vote. One person was reported dead in the clashes.
On Sunday, former premier Diallo renewed his allegations of mass fraud, almost one week after the results were due to be released.
In the Guinean capital soldiers were deployed on most street corners and in force at the electoral commission, where authorities feared that supporters of Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces in Guinea (UDFG) may start rioting.
At a press conference on 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 were investigated. Diallo also said he wanted the electoral commission to cancel the votes in the disputed regions.
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.
“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 set up an explosive situation ahead of the final results.
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.