More Results Expected Today (Friday) in Guinea Presidential Race
Scott Stearns | Conakry 12 November 2010
More results are expected Friday in a close presidential race in Guinea. The vote is meant to return the country to civilian rule nearly two years after soldiers took power.
Election results so far show former prime minister Cellou Diallo leading opposition politician Alpha Conde by fewer than 100,000 votes. Many of the first returns came from areas where Mr. Diallo was expected to do well. The difference in the vote count tightened with the addition of results from districts where Mr. Conde has strong support.
Five days after Sunday’s vote there is still no clear winner. But the country has remained calm with no repeat of the earlier violence between rival supporters that delayed voting.
Electoral commission president Siaka Toumany Sangare says “many more” results will be announced late Friday, dismissing suggestions that the process is behind schedule.
Sangare says Guinea’s Supreme Court has determined that the electoral law’s 72-hour deadline for announcing results begins only when the last vote is received by electoral officials. Because there are still four districts yet to report, Sangare says there is no delay.
Those four remaining results are from embassies in France, Holland, and Belgium, as well as the district of Siguiri.
Thousands of members of Mr. Diallo’s ethnic group were driven from their homes in Siguiri and Kouroussa during pre-election violence. The Diallo campaign wants those results annulled because it says it was unable to post representatives at all of the polling stations there. The Conde campaign says the electoral commission guaranteed the ability of all displaced people to vote by opening special polling stations for them.
Sangare says the commission has not responded to requests to annul those votes because returns from Siguiri and Kouroussa have not yet been examined. He says that will happen Friday.
Electoral commission results reporter El Hadji Koromoa Foumba says he understands voter frustration at waiting for results but says officials are taking the time to do their job properly.
Foumba says the commission needs to be truthful when publishing results instead of rushing to give out figures that will be contested later. He says there will always be people who challenge the results. That is the right of all political parties. But Foumba says the commission wants to release only results it believes in.
The goal now is to have a winner in this contest some time before Monday morning.