afrol News, 15 November - At least four persons have died in clashes in Guinea, as both presidential candidates today declared themselves winners of last week's poll. The electoral commission has failed to publish its results.
Cellou Dalein Diallo has been leading the count constantly since the first local election results started ticking in. But his early clear lead was getting marginal during the weekend, with the last compilation of local provisional results only giving him a lead of 50.62 percent, compared to 49.38 to his rival Alpha Condé.
The independent electoral commission CENI originally was to publish its results at noon (local time, GMT) today, later postponing its invitations to the military leadership, candidates, diplomats and a few members of the press to 18:00. No anouncement has however been made.
Meanwhile, both candidates on their own declared their victory in the polls, being hailed as "President of Guinea" by their followers. Clashes resulted in both the capital Conakry and in the provincial capital of Labé.
The first-ever democratic elections in Guinea's 52-year-old history therefore still don't have a winner. The process has been anything from smooth and there are widespread fears of a violent aftermath. Only a military coup had made the democratic transition possible, and the process has been marred by several outbreaks of violence.
After a first poll round, Mr Condé - Guinea's most prominent long-time opposition leader - and Mr Diallo - a former Prime Minister - won most votes. It would take four months before the independent electoral commission CENI was ready to organise the run-off one week ago.
Earlier today, bboth candidates had claimed victory in the poll, with Mr Condé referring to unpublished results and Mr Diallo referring to "widespread fraud" in favour of his foe.
Long-time opposition leader Condé started the vocal war earl
Ballot boxes handed over to CENI official in Guinea
y today, referring to unofficial counting reports from all over the country. He claimed to have won four of five communes in Conakry and almost all prefectures in rural Guinea. The entire country "knows who won the election," Mr Condé told his followers.
Mr Condé's self-proclamation of victory soon sparked violent clashes in Conakry and Labé, killing at least four persons, with followers of Mr Diallo burning tires and throwing stones at the police, protesting a "stolen election." Their party earlier had pulled out of the vote counting process, citing "massive fraud."
Mr Diallo in the afternoon repeated his protest against the counting process, urging CENI to spend more time on it. He claimed to have been the real winner of the poll, falling victim to "fraud" and "purges" against his followers. "We do not accept the provisional results published by the CENI," Mr Diallo emphasised.
International election observers, including from the European Union (EU) and the Carter Centre, earlier had praised the historic elections as relatively free, fair and transparent, however noting several bottlenecks in CENI's capacity to organise the polls. Observers had not complained over a possible CENI bias towards one of the candidate.
Aliou Barry, leader of the national human rights group ONDH, however was quoted by 'Le Jour Guinée' as saying that both the ruling military junta and the CENI were strongly in favour of Mr Condé. He presumed there had been manipulations in favour of Mr Condé, which seemed the only logical way to explain the opposition leader's sudden rise in votes. Mr Barry expected CENI officials to proclaim Mr Condé as winner of the election.
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