CONAKRY, Guinea — Electoral officials in junta-ruled Guinea announced late Friday that a runoff vote would be needed to determine who wins the mineral-rich West African nation’s first free election since independence.
Guinea Election Goes to Second Round with Diallo and Conde
July 2, 2010
By BOUBACAR DIALLO Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press
July 2, 2010, 6:24PM
Former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo garnered about nearly 40 percent of vote in last Sunday’s historic poll, well short of the simple majority needed to avoid a runoff, electoral Commission chief Ben Sekou Sylla told reporters in the capital, Conakry.
Longtime opposition politician Alpha Conde won just over 20 percent, while another ex-premier, Sidya Toure, came in third with close to 16 percent of the vote, Sylla said.
If confirmed by the Supreme Court, the result would mean Diallo faces Conde in a second round.
The electoral commission has said the runoff would be held July 18, but late Friday, several electoral officials said it would likely be pushed back until later in the month because of delays in counting ballots from the first round.
The June 27 poll has been praised as the first free vote since independence from France in 1958 and comes after decades of dictatorship that culminated in the yearlong rule of Moussa “Dadis” Camara.
Camara was shot in the head last December by his presidential guard and exiled to Burkina Faso where he remains as part of a peace deal.
On Wednesday, 17 of the 24 candidates — including the top three finishers — complained of ballot-box stuffing and irregularities. But the U.S. Embassy and international observers said they had found no evidence of widespread fraud.
Guinea’s people are among the poorest in Africa, despite the fact the country hosts one of the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum, and billions of dollars worth of iron ore, diamonds and gold.
Interim leader Gen. Sekouba Konate, along with all members of his junta and a transitional governing council comprised of civilians were barred from running in the vote.
Associated Press Writer Todd Pitman contributed to this report from Dakar, Senegal.