CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinean electoral officials issued a trickle of results from Sunday’s presidential run-off on Thursday, showing ex-premier Cellou Dallein Diallo maintaining a small lead over his rival Alpha Conde.
With results now in from about 40 percent of ballots cast, Diallo led with 53 percent to Conde’s 47 percent. The balance could yet tip as many of the remaining districts are Conde strongholds.
The election, billed as the West African country’s first free vote since independence from France in 1958, is meant to end nearly two years of junta rule since a military coup in the world’s top exporter of aluminium ore bauxite.
Electoral commission chief General Siaka Sangare told reporters the gradual release of results four days after the election did not mark a delay, despite a constitutional requirement that they be issued within 72 hours.
“The Supreme Court’s interpretation is that the 72 hour countdown begins only when the last vote is received by the central election authority,” he said. “Up to now, there are still four districts we have not received.”
The four districts authorities are still waiting for included Siguiri inside Guinea, as well as votes from embassies in France, Holland and Belgium.
“I can assure you that many more results will be released tomorrow,” he added.
Election officials had said earlier in the week that full provisional results would be issued by Friday.
International observers said the vote appeared largely free and fair, though Diallo has officially contested yet-to-be-published results from two districts over allegations of fraud.
One fear is that the outcome of the election could trigger ethnic violence after a turbulent campaign period marked by street clashes since the June 27 first round.
Security officials have said there have been no significant incidents of violence since the November 7 vote.
Guinea’s bauxite and iron ore deposits have drawn billions of dollars in planned investments.