|Violent clashes and political tensions have delayed Guinea’s presidential polls [GALLO/GETTY]|
Guinea’s state television has confirmed that the presidential election run-off will be postponed from October 31 to November 7.
Siaka Sangare, the newly appointed head of the election commission said on state television on Wednesday that “after wide consultation with the different parties in the transition, the date of November 7, 2010 has been set for the second round of the presidential election.”
“It is a date that has been agreed upon, cannot be changed, and, dare I say it, I think will be the last one set for this election that the Guinean people are waiting for so much.”
Sangare said the poll had been delayed to allow political parties to restore calm among their respective supporters.
Political and ethnic tensions
The second round of Guinea’s first ever democratic elections has already been postponed three times since the first round of voting in June went off peacefully.
However accusations of fraud and mutual mistrust have led to violent clashes amid rising political and ethnic tensions.
Cellou Dallein Diallo, the leading candidate from the first round in June secured 43.69 per cent, while Alpha Conde, his main rival bagged 18.25 per cent of the votes in the the initial round.
The run-off vote was postponed as rival parties accused each other of inciting violence and disrupting election preparations.
State television also reported that the two candidates in the runoff, Diallo and Conde, would visit the violence-hit regions on Thursday.
Conde had raised no objection to elections taking place on the previously announced date of Sunday, 31 October.
“The priority is to go to elections and then proceed to the desired national reconciliation. The country is deadlocked, its economy paralysed, and we have received no help since sanctions were imposed after the 2008 coup,” he said.
However, Diallo warned on Tuesday that the proposed date was “too soon” and that clashes led to massive displacement of people who would be unable to vote on Sunday.