Guinea president wins second term, opponent vows to protest

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2015 5:53 PM
Guinea president wins second term, opponent vows to protest

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea President Alpha Conde has won a second term, the election commission announced Saturday, avoiding a runoff with his closest rival, who vowed to protest the results.

"I proclaim that Alpha Conde has been elected president of the republic in the first round," election commission head Bakary Fofana said Saturday night.

Conde received nearly 58 percent of the Oct. 11 vote, while his main opponent, Cellou Dalein Diallo, had 31 percent, Fofana said. About 68 percent of the approximately 6 million registered voters took part in the Oct. 11 election, Fofana said.

It was only the second democratic presidential contest since Guinea gained independence from France in 1958. Violence marked the run-up to the poll, with at least three people killed, and many worry that street protests in the coming days could lead to deadly confrontations with security forces.

At least seven people were killed in election-related violence in 2010 — when Conde defeated Diallo in a runoff — and some 50 people died in the run-up to Guinea's 2013 legislative elections, according to Human Rights Watch.

Earlier this week, Diallo and fellow opposition candidate Sidya Toure — who placed third in 2010 — alleged fraud and said they would not recognize the results.

Preliminary results available earlier Saturday placed Conde well out in front, and Diallo told reporters in a statement delivered from his Conakry home that he would organize demonstrations, saying he did not trust the courts to address his concerns.

"I will invite the other candidates and all the citizens who are the real victims of this electoral hold-up to organize, conforming to the law, peaceful demonstrations to express our disapproval of this situation," Diallo said.

Conde's supporters credit him with improving the electricity supply in the capital, Conakry, and keeping the country relatively stable despite an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,500 people in Guinea.

"Before, we could only work at night when there was power. Bandits attacked us," said Magassouba Mamady, a 42-year-old metalworker in a Conakry suburb. "Now there is current 24 hours a day. Is that not reason enough to elect Alpha Conde?"