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Finally, Someone Breaks the Guinea Election Sound Barrier, EU Observers: “Irregularities . . . which could put into question the sincerity of certain results”

October 9, 2013

UN monitors and diplomats observing Guinea’s first parliamentary vote in more than a decade cited “irregularities” Tuesday in the September 28 poll amid opposition accusations of fraud and calls for the ballot to be annulled.

By News Wires (text)

Diplomats and UN representatives observing Guinea’s first parliamentary elections in over a decade raised “irregularities” on Tuesday, amid calls from the opposition for the September 28 vote to be annulled over “fraud”.

The scathing observation is the latest blow to hit the polls, which were delayed numerous times due to disputes over their organisation, stoking ethnic tensions that have dogged Guinean politics since the country’s independence from France in 1958.

“Breaches and irregularities were observed in a certain number of constituencies, preventing a significant number of votes from being taken into account, and could therefore put into question the sincerity of certain results,” the diplomats said in a joint statement, pointing to issues in eight out of 38 constituencies.

The country’s electoral commission (CENI) should “identify these cases and refer to them in the document transmitting provisional results to the Supreme Court”, they added.

That should be filed as soon as possible to the court after provisional results are published, and within the deadline for any appeals, said the observers who include UN envoy Said Djinnit, US and French ambassadors, as well as representatives from the European Union and west African bloc ECOWAS.

Their statement came after the opposition demanded that the vote be annulled “because fraud was so massive”.

They charge that there had been ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and minors casting votes.

But in an interview with AFP on Tuesday, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde dismissed the opposition’s accusations.

“I don’t pay attention to all this,” Conde said.

“Every party has its view, but it is their responsibility to send their views to the Supreme Court, which is the only jurisdiction with the authority to decide,” he said.

“I am waiting for the outcome.”

Under Guinea’s election law, the supreme court has to rubberstamp the final results within 10 days of polls closing.

But 11 days after the polls, the national electoral commission has yet to publish full results, adding to tensions in Guinea.

According to partial and provisional results covering 36 out of 38 constituencies, Conde’s ruling Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party is in the lead.

Analysts say it is to early to tell whether Conde’s party has secured an absolute majority in parliament.

Controversy has stalked the elections, which should have taken place within six months of the swearing in of Conde in December 2010, after his election the previous month in the first ever democratic vote for a head of state in a nation ravaged by political, military and ethnic violence.

However, it was pushed back with opposing factions unable to agree on how it should be staged, leaving the role of parliament to be played by an unelected National Transitional Council.

The last parliamentary elections in Guinea took place in June 2002 during the dictatorship of General Lansana Conte, who died in December 2008 after 24 years in power.

One of the poorest countries in the region despite vast potential for mineral exploitation, Guinea was run by a succession of autocratic rulers after gaining independence from France.


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