Focus on Guinea.
Guinea’s (Conakry) run-off election, scheduled for September 19, was again postponed four days to the election. The run-off is between Cellou Dalein Diallo, who captured 44% of the initial vote, and the runner up, Alpha Conde, who received 18% of the vote. According to Guinea”s constitution, the run-off that was supposed to have taken place fourteen day after the first election.
The postponement comes in the midst of a turbulent 2 months, following the first round of elections. Since the close of the polls the head of the electoral commission, Ben Sekou Sylla, died in France this week, and another senior officer was sentenced to 1 year in prison for voter fraud. Furthermore, fresh violence broke out among rival candidates, leaving 1 person dead and 50 people injured.
The Associate Press reports that interim President General Sekouba Konate went on Guinean TV and expressed his fears that the “republic is in danger” due to ethnic and political divisions.
A spokesperson for the election commission has pointed out that Guinea is awaiting the arrival of 450,000 new ballot cards. Supporters of Cellou Diallo complain that the postponement is designed to allow his opposition to catch up in the polls.
International election observers reported that the first round of voting held in June was “generally free and fair”. Despite this fact nearly all of the candidates have complained of irregularities. The new run-off election date will be set by interim President Konate. This is Guineas first democratic vote since independence from the French in 1958.
Our guests are Jennifer Swift-Morgan, from the election monitoring outfit Alliance Guinea, and three Guinean journalists; Nassirou Diallo, who was at the stadium covering the event when the massacre of more 200 people and the rape of women by the soldiers of the Guinean military junta occurred on Sept 28, 2009; Abduoulaye Diallo, who recently returned from Guinea, and Mamadou Diallo.