Thierno Balde, the chairman of Guinea’s Research Institute on Democracy and the Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization, has said that an uneasy calm has returned to the capital, Conakry ahead of Friday’s scheduled release of last Sunday’s election results. Balde said the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) has assured Guineans that it will be ready to release the provisional results despite delays caused by logistical challenges. “I think we will probably get the results today (Friday) because the CENI was supposed to release the results last Wednesday, but because of delay according to the president of the CENI…they had to delay the results for 48 hours. So, finally we are going to get them this Friday early or before the end of the day,” he said.
The electoral body was originally scheduled to release provisional results of the 27th June election this past Wednesday. But, faced with logistical problems it petitioned the Supreme Court for an extension, and the court set a new deadline to Friday. Allegations of rigging and voter irregularities have reportedly heightened tensions after some political parties accused the electoral commission of bias, a charge the electoral body denied.
Balde said despite the fraud allegations, Guineans are patiently waiting for the provisional results. “Right now the whole place is calm, but as you know (Wednesday) the CENI was supposed to announce the results. And by noon most of the people closed their stores and went back home. So most of the streets were empty because people were afraid (there would be) violence,” Balde said. Meanwhile, John Stremlau, co-chairman of the U.S.-based Carter Center poll monitoring team has called on Guinea’s political parties to patiently wait for the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to declare the results of the presidential election before taking any action.
Stremlau, who is also the Vice President for Peace Programs at the Carter Center said in spite of unsubstantiated reports of violence, the election was largely peaceful and devoid of intimidation or harassment. “We (Carter Center) won’t take speculations from radio or speculations from observer groups that are just looking at a few isolated polling stations. We want the electoral commission to render a judgment and we are telling all the parties and the public to please respect the constitutional process,” he said.
Analysts say two former Prime Ministers — Sidya Toure and Cellou Dalein Diallo — as well as Alpha Conde, a long-time opposition leader could be the three front runners in Sunday’s vote. But analysts also said it is unlikely that any of the 24 presidential aspirants will win the over 50 percent minimum required to win the election. Under Guinea’s constitution, an election run-off is scheduled for 18th July if the presidential candidates fail to win the first round. Only the front runners will be allowed to participate in any run-off.
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