EU observers say Guinea’s pres­i­den­tial vote valid

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Guinea’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was valid de­spite some lo­gis­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, Euro­pean Union observers said on Tues­day in an ap­par­ent boost for a vote ex­pected to re­turn Pres­i­dent Al­pha Conde for another five years.

The EU state­ment came as clashes broke out over Sun­day’s elec­tion be­tween sup­port­ers of the pres­i­dent and the op­po­si­tion in at least two neigh­bor­hoods of the cap­i­tal Conakry, wit­nesses said. Se­cu­rity forces were seen head­ing to the area but it was not im­me­di­ately clear how large the protests were.

The elec­tion re­sults are yet to be of­fi­cially an­nounced. Early re­sults an­nounced by ra­dio sta­tions so far showed Conde with a size­able lead, though a sec­ond round is pos­si­ble.

“What I saw in terms of in­suf­fi­cient (vot­ing ma­te­rial), lack of prepa­ra­tion and lo­gis­ti­cal and prac­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties at the polling sta­tions does not mar the va­lid­ity of the elec­tion,” said the head of the EU ob­server mis­sion Frank Engels.

Nearly two-thirds of polls opened late be­cause of in­suf­fi­cient ma­te­ri­als and some did not re­ceive vot­ing booths at all, but rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the po­lit­i­cal par­ties were in most lo­ca­tions and counts were mostly trans­par­ent, Engels said.

Guinea, Africa’s largest pro­ducer of baux­ite, has a history of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing at the 2010 elec­tion that brought Conde to power. Two peo­ple were killed and at least 33 were in­jured on Fri­day in clashes be­tween Conde sup­port­ers and those of the main op­po­si­tion leader Cel­lour Dalein Diallo.

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