Tension in the West African country grows as political parties accuse each other of vote rigging.
|Violence did not erupt during the first round of voting in June, but the country has been plagued by strife [Reuters]|
Guinea will hold the delayed second round of its presidential election on October 24, a spokesman for the president of the military ruled West African minerals producer has said.
The election is intended to return Guinea to civilian rule and, if it passes off smoothly, it will be its first properly democratic election since 1958 independence from France.
“Based on a proposal made by the CENI [national election commission], the vote for the second round of the presidential election is called for Oct. 24,” Mohamed Kasse, a presidential spokesman, told state television on Tuesday.
The second round of voting, aimed at breaking half a century of military and civilian dictatorship, will see Cellou Dalein Diallo, an ex-prime minister and the clear frontrunner, face off against opposition politician Alpha Conde.
The run-off between the two leaders of June’s first round has been delayed for weeks by street violence between rival political factions and a dispute over the leadership of CENI.
Though it did not throw up a clear winner, the first round of voting on June 27 was hailed as peaceful.
Diallo, who secured 44 per cent of the votes in the first round, has won backing from the third place finisher, Sidya Toure, who garnered 14 per cent.
Conde, who took 18 per cent of ballots, has teamed up with Lansana Kouyate who finished fourth with seven per cent.
The country is currently being run by a transitional government with General Sekouba Konate, a military leader, holding the presidency and Jean-Marie Dore acting as prime minister.
More than 4.2 million Guineans registered to vote in the country’s first free election since independence, including more than 112,000 in 17 foreign countries in Africa, Europe and the US.
While the country is poor, Guinea is the world’s top bauxite producer, a mineral needed to produce aluminium, and also holds significant deposits of diamonds, gold and iron ore.
The run-off vote comes after a previous military government led by Moussa ‘Dadis’ Camara gained international notoriety in September 2009 after army units opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators gathered in a Conakry stadium.
Security forces massacred more than 150 people, wounded 1,000 others and raped some 100 women. That carnage acted as a turning point in the country’s turbulent history.