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Guinea Candidates Say Ready for October 24 Election

October 20, 2010

UPDATE 1-Guinea candidates say ready for Oct 24 election
Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:05am GMT

* Diallo says he is ready for Sunday vote

* Rival Conde camp accepts election chief nomination

(Adds further details)

DAKAR, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Guinea’s two rival presidential candidates said they were now ready to take part in a delayed election run-off this Sunday after authorities named a new chief of the West African country’s national election body.

“What I can tell you is that I am ready,” Cellou Dallein Diallo, who accused the former election body chief of bias and had threatened to boycott the vote, told BBC Afrique radio.

“I think this is a solution we can accept,” Makale Traore, campaign manager for the rival camp of Alpha Conde told the same radio station of the appointment late on Tuesday of a Malian official, Siaka Toumany Sangare, to head the election body.

The election in the junta-ruled exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite is billed as its first free vote since independence from France in 1958 and Guinea’s best chance yet to shake off decades of authoritarian rule.

A June 27 first round passed off without violence but was marred by accusations of fraud which triggered street violence and a deepening row over control of the election body, delaying the decisive second round for weeks.

Presidency Secretary-General Tibou Kamara, the political right-hand man of junta leader Sekouba Konate, insisted late on Tuesday that it was still technically possible for the election to go ahead as planned on Oct. 24.

However, Sangare has only four days to ensure preparations are in place and analysts fear that any further irregularities this time will mean that the losing candidate will refuse to accept the outcome of the vote.

Diallo, a former prime minister from the large ethnic Peul group, scored 43.69 percent in the first round, ahead of the second-placed Conde, from the Malinke group, with 18.25 percent.

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