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Guinean Presidential Candidate Will Challenge Result

November 16, 2010

Guinean Presidential Candidate Will Challenge Result

By Ougna Camara – Nov. 16, 2010 11:49am ET 

Guinea’s losing candidate in a runoff presidential election will challenge the outcome in court, his party said, as the United Nations appealed for calm after a day of clashes between his supporters and the police.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, a former prime minister of the country, will appeal to the Supreme Court to cancel results from some districts, Faya Millimono, a spokesman for the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea, said in a phone interview today from the capital, Conakry. His rival, Alpha Conde, was declared the winner by electoral authorities yesterday.

“We will demand as soon as possible the cancellation of two district results favorable to Conde, where fraud and irregularities were registered,” Diallo said.

The Nov. 7 vote marked the first democratic transfer of power in the mineral-rich West African nation. The election was held almost two years after the December 2008 death of President Lansana Conte, who ruled the country for 24 years. Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power and ruled for a year before being shot in the head and injured by an aide on Dec. 3, 2009. General Sekouba Konate took over as interim president and pushed ahead with plans for a civilian-led administration.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon yesterday urged Guineans to accept the result and to “resolve any differences through legal means.”

Deaths, Injuries

Agence France-Presse reported that one person died and dozens were injured in Conakry yesterday before the vote result was announced. Another was killed in Dalaba after the result was released, the news agency said. Both reports cited people that were identified by AFP.

Conde, 72, received 52.52 percent of ballots cast in the vote, while Diallo received 47.48 percent, according to the electoral commission. The runoff was arranged after no candidate won more than 50 percent in a June 27 election. Both Diallo and Conde called for calm after the results, AFP said.

Conde, 72, is a former professor at the Sorbonne in Paris who spent 20 months in jail in Guinea until 2001, according to his campaign website, where he pledged to boost agriculture and regional integration to aid development in Guinea.

“While Conde will reach out to Diallo’s supporters, he is unlikely to include Diallo in his government,” New York-based DaMina Advisors Llp said in an e-mailed note to clients.

Mineral Deposits

Ranked 170th out or 182 countries on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, per capita incomes in Guinea, a former French colony, are less than half the sub-Saharan African average of $861, according to the World Bank. The country holds as much as half of the world’s reserves of bauxite, more than 4 billion metric tons of “high-grade” iron ore and “significant” deposits of diamonds and gold, according to the U.S. State Department. Bauxite is the ore used to make aluminum.

Both Conde and Diallo pledged during the campaign to continue a review of mining deals that aren’t favorable to Guinea that began in 2008 and led to a dispute with London-based Rio Tinto Group over ownership of the Simandou iron-ore project. Other companies operating in the country include Russia’s United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Africa’s biggest gold miner, and Brazil’s Vale SA, the world’s No. 1 iron-ore producer.

“Conde’s ambitious populist manifesto calls for drastic increases in tax revenues and a re-write of the country’s mining and hydrocarbons laws,” DaMina said. “Tensions with miners and local business elites will retard major new investments in iron ore, gold and bauxite.”

Observers from the African Union said Nov. 8 the voting was held in a “serene and peaceful atmosphere,” while the Economic Community of West African States said deficiencies of electoral materials in some areas didn’t compromise the vote.

Conte seized power in 1984 after the death of President Ahmed Sekou Toure.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ougna Camara in Conakry via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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