/ 10 November 2010

Guinea presidential candidates neck and neck

Guinea Presidential Candidates Neck And Neck

Guinea’s two presidential candidates were neck and neck after 10% of Sunday’s second-round vote was counted, the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) said late on Tuesday.

The first provisional results released, only covered five of the country’s 38 constituencies and 12 embassies and consulates abroad.

CENI president Siaka Sangare admitted that the results were “too partial” to draw conclusions.

Former premier Cellou Dalein Diallo was slightly in front with 167, 725 votes against 156, 877 for historic opposition leader Alpha Conde.

CENI said it had decided to publish results daily as and when they came in.

In a joint statement after the vote the observer missions from the African Union, European Union and Carter Centre hailed “the engagement of Guinean voters who turned out at the ballot box in great numbers to determine, in peace, the future of Guinea”.

They appealed to the “sense of responsibility of the two candidates and their supporters to maintain a climate of calm during the wait for the complete and definitive results …”

Rig the vote
A first-round vote on June 27 in which Diallo scored 43% of votes and Conde 18%, was followed by hostility between supporters of the two final candidates, who accused each other of planning to rig the vote.

The two final candidates were chosen from the country’s two biggest ethnic groups, the Fulani and the Malinke, and mounting mistrust and rumours of sabotage pitted the two groups against each other in a series of violent clashes.

Since independence Guinea has been ruled by “father of independence” turned paranoid dictator Ahmed Sekou Toure and later by General Lansane Conte, who took power in a coup in 1984 upon Toure’s death.

Guinea’s troubles deepened when Conte’s death led to another putsch.

In September 2009 security forces opened fire on a crowd protesting against the military junta, leading to the bloody massacre of 157 people which left the West African nation traumatised.

Despite enormous mineral wealth, which has multinationals scrambling for their stake in massive bauxite and iron-ore stores, half the population lives under the poverty line, most without running water or electricity. — Sapa-AFP