Guinea officials meet to discuss poll postponement

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 8:49 AM
Guinea officials meet to discuss poll postponement

Guinea's electoral commission said it would meet Thursday to decide whether to postpone yet again Sunday's presidential ballot, a poll already overshadowed by violent protests and accusations of interference.

On Thursday, electoral chief Siaka Toumani Sangare issued a statement warning voters to be wary of "bad-intentioned" people posing as electoral officials and trying to discredit the poll.

"These practices aim at creating confusion and disorder and to prevent real voters from honestly expressing their vote," the statement said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told French radio Wednesday that the vote would be delayed to Oct. 31 but Sangare said no decision has been made yet.

There have been violent protests and 17 computers that were to tabulate poll results have disappeared. Local journalists have reported voting materials have not yet appeared in many villages.

Growing discord over the Oct. 24 presidential runoff is dividing the West African country and threatening to cause yet another delay of the poll, which could be the country's first free and fair vote since winning independence from France 52 years ago.

The election's first round in June was viewed as largely fair. Problems started when the field of 24 candidates from the first round was narrowed down to the top two vote-getters, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde.