Run-Off elections in Guinea postponed until end of July

Cellou Dalein Diallo - Front-Runner

Guinea’s presidential election run-off will not take place until at least the end of July after the Supreme Court has ruled on challenges to the first round of voting, the election commission signalled on Thursday. It had been due to take place on July 18 between former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, who came first with nearly 40 percent in the first round, according to provisional results, and second-placed veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde.

Foumba Kourouma, a spokesman for the election commission, CEN said that “In principle, the date for the second round will be set (for) 14 days after the declaration of the result (of the first round) by the Supreme Court.” Election observers were broadly happy with the poll. But the Supreme Court has received complaints of fraud from virtually all 24 candidates who took part, including Conde, and third-placed Sidya Toure, another former prime minister.

Candidates will have eight days to lodge their complaints at the court, which is then meant to rule on a final result after three days, which would be July 16. Two weeks after that would be July 30. Kourouma said the two-week window between the confirmation of results from the first round and a second round of voting was set out in the country’s election law.

The first round on June 27 was widely seen as the  country’s best chance of securing democratic civilian rule after a series of authoritarian rulers since independence from France. Election observers from the European Union and the Carter Center have said they were broadly satisfied with the vote, while noting irregularities caused by logistical problems. But the losing parties say they have evidence of rigging such as ballot-stuffing and falsified voters’ cards.

Security forces fired teargas on Monday to disperse people protesting against the results, in defiance of a government ban. But, contrary to some fears, there have been no wide-scale disturbances in the run-up to or since the poll. Over the weekend, the interim president rewarded the army with a batch of promotions for keeping the peace during voting. A smooth poll would help to draw a line under a turbulent 18 months of military rule since the death of President Lansana Conte in 2008 and open the door to further aid and investment. Dadis Camara who was leader of the coup and later became president, is in voluntary exile in Burkina Faso after a failed assassination attempt on his life.

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