Sidya Toure bows out of Presidential race in Guinea

Sidya Toure, a former Guinean prime minister bowed out of the country’s presidential race after accepting he had lost the first round and offering to work in government with the eventual winner. The former Prime Minister had contested the outcome of the landmark June 27 poll intended to restore civilian rule to the world’s top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite, with official results putting him third after Cellou Dallein Diallo and Alpha Conde.

The remaining two candidates, Diallo and Conde, will now go on to a head-to-head second round and Toure could tip the balance by urging his supporters to transfer their votes to one of the two front-runners. A date for the run-off has yet to be fixed. Toure is reported to have said, “Whether we are a victim or not, I think we should start by respecting the institutions and moving on. We shall submit our proposals for government to both the candidates … it is an alliance that we are after and we shall wait and see the outcome of negotiations with the two leaders.”  The country’s Supreme Court confirmed  the first-round results that pust Diallo, another former prime minister, on 43.69 percent, well ahead of Conde on 18.25 percent but short of an absolute majority. Toure secured 13.62 percent.

There was indication from the results that  ethnic allegiance swayed voters more than policy choice, with Diallo and Conde taking votes from their own large ethnic groups — Peul and Malinke respectively. Toure’s Diakhante minority is just one percent of the population. Toure, who was premier in the 1990s under late strongman leader Lansana Conte said  “We didn’t want to end up with a second round like this  one in which the two main communities come up against each other in elections.” The former junta leader, Captain Dadis Camara is in Burkina Faso where he is in exile after an agreement that saw hinm exit Guinean politics for good.

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