Guinea election body proposes October 10 run-off

Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:52pm GMT
 

By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's electoral commission on Wednesday proposed October 10 as the revised date for the final round of voting in the West African country's first democratic election.

The commission, known as CENI, earlier this month postponed the election, which was due to have been held on September 19, citing logistical reasons.

Analysts have said a successful election in Guinea, a key to stability in a region scarred by three civil wars, will bring in billions of dollars in planned mining investments and may draw a line under decades of authoritarian rule since independence from France in 1958.

The new date must be approved by interim head of state Sekouba Konate. Konate has said he does not want any further delays, and his approval is expected to be a formality.

"We have officially written to propose the date of October 10," CENI official Foumba Kourouma told Reuters.

The election, strongly backed by the United States, France and the European Union, is intended to end a political crisis that began when soldiers seized power in the world's biggest bauxite exporter in December 2008, after former President Lansana Conte died.

TWO WAY FIGHT

Former Prime Minister Celou Dalein Diallo, who won more than 40 percent of the vote in June's first round, will take on Alpha Conde, who polled 18 percent. Conde's camp has repeatedly said the electoral process is deeply flawed.

CENI has experienced turmoil since the first round at the end of June. Ben Sekou Sylla, who was chief at the time, was convicted of fraud earlier this month and died days later after a long illness.

Sylla's replacement by his deputy, Hadja Aminata Mame Camara, led Conde to protest that she is a political ally of Diallo.

Earlier this month, one person was killed and 50 were injured in street battles as rival camps traded accusations of attempted vote-rigging, and CENI said the row between Diallo and Conde was hindering its efforts to set a date for the final round.

CENI said the electoral material for which it had been waiting was largely in place.

"There only remains a small quantity of material, and that should be at its destination before Saturday," Kourouma said.

(Writing by Daniel Magnowski; editing by Tim Pearce)

 
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