* July 18 date for run-off hit by challenges to results
* Poll body says election seen 14 days after court decision
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CONAKRY, July 8 (Reuters) – The run-off in Guinea’s presidential election will not take place until at least the end of July after the country’s Supreme Court has ruled on challenges to the first round of voting, the election commission said.
A run-off between former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, who came first with nearly 40 percent of the vote, and second-placed Alpha Conde had been due to take place in 10 days time on July 18.
“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,” Foumba Kourouma, a spokesman for Guinea’s election commission, CENI, said on Thursday.
From Monday, candidates had 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.
Guinea is the world’s top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite and a handful of mining firms are jockeying for position to exploit its iron ore resources.
The poll on June 27 was widely seen as the West African state’s best chance in half a century of securing democratic civilian rule.
Election observers were broadly happy with the poll. But Guinea’s Supreme Court has received complaints of fraud from virtually all the 24 candidates that took part in the poll, including Conde, and third-placed Sidya Toure, another former prime minister.
Security forces on Monday fired teargas to disperse people protesting against alleged fraud in defiance of a government ban on such rallies.
A smooth poll would help 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. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; writing by David Lewis)