Guinea opposition decries “appalling” poll fraud
CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea’s opposition said Monday that “appalling” fraud committed during the West African nation’s legislative poll would make it difficult to accept the results, raising the possibility of a turbulent postelection period.
The vote over the weekend was intended to complete Guinea’s transition to democracy after decades of dictatorship and strongman rule. It had been delayed by nearly two years because of disputes over how it would be conducted that led to deadly protests as recently as last week.
On Monday night, opposition leaders attended an emergency meeting as the electoral commission prepared to announce provisional results on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters afterward, opposition politician Sidya Toure said the vote had been marred by ballot-stuffing, vote-tampering and the creation of more than 50 fake polling stations.
“Our conclusion today is appalling. There has been tampering of every kind,” Toure said. “In Conakry, the government is about to proclaim fraudulent results.”
The emergency meeting was attended by opposition leaders including Cellou Dalein Diallo, who came in second in Guinea’s first democratic presidential election in 2010. Toure said the leaders had not decided on a concrete course of action.
“If in the days to come the electoral commission does not correct this dysfunction, the opposition will not be able to accept the results and will decide on future actions,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the European Union observer mission issued a preliminary declaration saying there had been significant organizational problems but that voters had been able to freely express their will.
The electoral commission had been expected to release partial results Monday night, but an official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press said a spokesman had fallen ill, delaying the announcement. Provisional results are expected to be announced Tuesday.
Authorities have warned against the dissemination of unofficial results. Supporters of both the opposition and ruling parties took to the streets of Conakry Sunday night celebrating victory, and mass text messages were also distributed declaring winners for individual races.
Alassane Conde, minister for territorial administration, warned in a statement late Sunday that anyone “sowing confusion” by broadcasting fake results would “face the rigor of the law.”