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Africa
Guinea presidential polls postponed
Delay of at least two weeks casts doubt over whether it can complete its transition from military to civilian rule.
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2010 04:12 GMT
Riots on Sunday left one dead and dozens injured, leading to more confusion around a run-off election [REUTERS]

The second round of Guinea's presidential election will not be held on Sunday as scheduled due to a lack of preparedness, election commission and political officials have said. 

Thierno Ceydou Bayo, a spokesman of The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said on Wednesday that the decision was made after a meeting between the Jean-Marie Dore, the interim prime minister, and the two candidates, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde.

"There has been a postponement [...] we need two weeks to prepare well," Bayo said.

Street battles between rival political camps left one dead and 50 injured this week, while turmoil within the election body itself cast doubts over whether the world's top bauxite exporter can complete its transition from military to civilian rule.

Election officials emerging from hours of talks in the capital Conakry blamed a lack of necessary voting equipment on the postponement and said it could take up to two weeks for arrangements to be in place.

Foumba Kourouma, a member of CENI, said authorities would hold further talks on Thursday.

"We have to decide on the [new] date," Kourouma said.

A source close to negotiations between CENI and the two rival camps over arrangements for the run-off vote said 1,250 new voting stations were due to be installed.

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

Cellou Dalein Diallo, the former prime minister, had insisted that the run-off must take place on time, while his rival Alpha Conde says several conditions must be met before a fair poll can be held.

"We know it is going to be postponed given the delays in the provision of the necessary equipment," a source close to Diallo said.

Conde scored 18.25 per cent in the first round, while Diallo took 43.69 per cent, short of the majority needed for victory.
 
The first round of voting in June was met with excitement, but the multiple delays since then have cast a pall over the runoff.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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