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Guineans Question Controversial Election of Electoral Commission Chief and His Impartiality

September 23, 2010

Dispute over Electoral Commission May Threaten Guinea Run-Off Vote

Peter Clottey 22 September 2010

A human rights activist said Guineans are expressing concern following the “controversial” election of Lancie Camara as the new chairman of the electoral commission ahead of a proposed 10th October presidential run-off vote.

Thierno Balde, president of Guinea’s Research Institute on Democracy and the Rule of Law, a non-governmental organization, told VOA some Guineans have called on interim President General Sekouba Konate to help resolve the impasse.

“The electoral commission organized a meeting during which they elected a new president. And, some members of the electoral commission (like) the civil society organizations are not happy with that process because, according to them, they (electoral commission officials) didn’t follow the electoral commission rules and regulations.”

Officials of the electoral commission reportedly met Monday and proposed the second run off vote be held on 10th October. The commission postponed the planned 19th September election in the wake of allegations of fraud, the death of the commission president and fighting among supporters of the two candidates.

Balde said after Monday’s meeting, “some members of the electoral commission left and some decided to stay. And, those who stayed decided to elect the new president (of the electoral commission).”

Supporters of former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo have refused to recognize Lancie Camara’s election saying it’s a ploy to rig the run-off vote. They are demanding a new vote to determine who becomes chairman of the electoral body.

Civil society groups condemned the election of the new electoral commission chairman and have called on interim President General Konate to step in and help resolve the controversy.

If confirmed, Camara, who is widely believed to be a supporter of veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde, will take over from Ben Sekou Sylla. Sylla died in a Paris hospital shortly after he was convicted of voter fraud in the first round of Guinea’s presidential election.

Analysts warned that if the ongoing controversy is not resolved, the proposed 10th October vote could be in jeopardy and stall Guinea’s effort towards a return to constitutional rule.

The expected presidential run-off vote pits former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo against long-time opposition leader Alpha Conde. Both rival parties have agreed to the 10th October date.

Balde said Guineans want a new chairman who is seen as impartial ahead of the election.

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