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Africa
Guinea vote passes peacefully
West African nation holds presidential runoff expected to end two years of military rule.
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2010 18:28 GMT
The vote will end nearly two years of military rule since a junta seized power in a bloodless coup in 2008 [AFP]

Residents in the West African state of Guinea have voted in a presidential runoff election described as the country's first free polls since independence from France in 1958.

No major disruptions were reported as voters went to the polls on Sunday, though worries remained over the potential for ethnically driven violence once the results are released.

The runoff pitted Cellou Dallein Diallo, the former prime minister, against Alpha Conde, a veteran opposition leader - each representing one of Guinea's two most populous ethnic groups, the Peul and Malinke respectively.

Conde cast his vote late in the morning, saying he had noted "some problems" at certain voting stations, such as people saying their names were not on the list, and one case of attempted
fraud.

"We hope that after this vote then we will really begin a process of democratic development, to end impunity ...," he said.

'Transparent elections'

Diallo said the vote had gone well and that "all conditions for free and transparent elections seem to have been met."

However, in the upper Guinean cities of Kouroussa and Siguiri his coalition had been "unable to find representatives to monitor the vote" due to the fleeing of his constituents after recent ethnic
unrest.

Election observers said there were only minor reports of logistical problems with the vote, including some spot shortages of ballot envelopes.

The run-up to the vote has been turbulent, with at least one killed and dozens injured in clashes between rival political camps, and rows over electoral preparations leading to delays to the second round since the first vote was held in June.

The vote will end nearly two years of military rule since a bloodless coup followed Lansane Conte's death in December 2008.

"Finally, we will have a leader elected by the people, to serve the people," she said. "It's a celebration, but people remain tense until the results have been accepted."

In the first round of elections in June, Diallo took 43.7 per cent making him the favourite, while Conde, who later complained of fraud undermining his score, gaining 18.3 per cent.

Tensions run deep between Peul supporters of Diallo and Malinke supporters of Conde after recent clashes, with neither group likely to easily accept their candidate's loss.

Source:
Agencies
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