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Fourth Place Finisher, Lansana Kouyate, to Back Alpha Conde in Guinea’s Presidential Run-Off

August 2, 2010

Guinea ex-PM backs underdog in presidential run-off

Mon Aug 2, 2010 9:54am GMT

CONAKRY (Reuters) – Guinea’s former prime minister Lansana Kouyate has thrown his support behind underdog presidential candidate Alpha Conde heading into a run-off vote, sources in Kouyate’s party told Reuters on Monday.

The move is unlikely to bring Conde the votes required to beat favourite Cellou Dallein Diallo, who came first in the initial round of elections in June and has formed powerful alliances since, but it could position Kouyate for a leadership role in the bauxite exporting nation’s new government.

“We expect Kouyate to take the head of this alliance and in the case of a win in the legislative polls, we expect he would take the presidency of the national assembly,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Guinea’s election is seen as its best chance at drawing a line under decades of authoritarian rule since independence from France in 1958, and could help cement fragile gains in stability in a region rocked by three civil wars in a decade.

Diallou, who took nearly 44 percent of the vote in first round elections held in June, will face second-place finisher Conde, with 18.25 percent in the first round, in run-off elections expected later this month.

No date has been given yet.

Kouyate, head of the PEDN party, took fourth in the first round with just over 7 percent of the national vote.

PEDN spokesman Aboubacar Sacko said the decision to ally with the 73-year-old veteran opposition politician, who shares Kouyate’s Malinke ethnicity, was taken after sounding out PEDN supporters.

“Some 98 percent responded in favour of Alpha Conde. We couldn’t have done anything else without the risk of cutting ourselves off from our base,” Sacko said.

Diallo has the support of third placed Sidya Toure, who took 13.62 pct of votes in the first round, and sixth placed Abe Sylla with 3.23 pct.

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