Guinea’s presidential candidates want election delay to fix irregularities


Challengers to President Alpha Conde in Guinea’s presidential election want to postpose the Oct. 11 vote until later this month to address irregularities in the process, an opposition leader said on Friday.

Conde’s election in 2010 ended two years of brutal military rule and he is favoured to win a second term despite the West African nation’s prolonged battle with Ebola and a slump in metal prices.

Sidya Toure, the 2010 poll’s third-place finisher and head of the opposition Union of Republican Forces party, said there had been problems with the distribution of voter cards and voters were unevenly distributed among polling stations.

There were also concerns that minors had been registered and added to the voter rolls, he said.

Toure, who said he was speaking on behalf of seven of the eight registered presidential candidates, said: “We need one or two weeks to reduce the risk of fraud.”

The Guinean government made concessions to opposition parties in August in an attempt to ensure a peaceful vote and avoid the kind of violence that has plagued previous polls.

Anti-government demonstrations over the election process led to at least six deaths in April and May, according to Amnesty International.

Saramady Toure, a member of Conde’s Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party who helped negotiate the deal, said that the opposition’s concerns had already been addressed in the agreement.
“The voter rolls have been carefully verified by the electoral committee, which consists of two opposition experts, two experts from the majority and two others from civil society,” he said.

Political analyst and legal expert Mohamed Camara said Guinea’s constitution requires the election to take place at least 60 days before the end of the president’s term and a delay of 11 days was the maximum allowed.
“Going beyond that deadline could push the country into a situation of illegality with risks of turmoil,” he said.

Guinea is Africa’s largest producer of bauxite – the raw material for aluminium – and also has massive deposits of iron ore and other minerals.