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  • on 29.06.2010
  • at 05:30 PM
  • by Staff

Guinea poll peaceful: what happens next? 0

CONAKRY/DAKARGuinea held on Sunday its first free election since 1958 independence from France, a vote which international observers said went smoothly aside from some organisational shortcomings.

But despite a sense of euphoria in the West African state that it could soon see a democratic government after decades of misrule by authorintialtarian leaders, the hardest is yet to come.

Here is a guide for the factors to watch in coming days and weeks as Guinea’s future unfurls.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

First results are not expected until Wednesday. With a total 24 candidates in Sunday’s first round, the broad expectation is that no one candidate will achieve above 50 percent of the vote, making a run-off between the two front-runners likely.

At the moment, the second round is scheduled for July 18, but that could change depending on what happens when the first round results are made known.

As Guinea awaits the results of the vote, the Secretary-General calls on all concerned to continue to respect their commitments to a peaceful process based on respect of the rule of law, and to accept the outcome,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson

The future president must form a government that unites the candidates,” student Diallo Mamadou Yaya, 23, said of the tough task ahead for the victor, who is seen having to offer government posts to rivals to build a strong administration.

Guinea is the world’s top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite, and multinational mining companies are wrestling over its lucrative iron ore resources, yet a third of the population of 10 million live in poverty. Whoever becomes president will have a tough job transforming the country.

We’ve tried to talk about the dividends of democracy not washing over the country immediately,” U.S. ambassador Patricia Moller said.
In Conakry, voter Amadou Camara says there is a lot at stake in these elections and this vote was meaningful to him. He says at 30 years old, this is his first time to vote in his country. He says his vote will help his country move forward. He feel hopeful, he says, and sees hope on the faces of the people around him.

The election is meant to return Guinea to civilian rule after a military junta seized power in December 2008.

Organized in just six months, observers say the vote was an impressive feat they hope will set an example for Guinea’s neighbors and boost democracy and stability in the region.

Casting his ballot Sunday, interim President General Sekouba Konate says a soldier keeps his word. In 50 years, he says, this is the first time Guinea is holding free and transparent elections. He says he has called for unity, peace and prudence, that the best may win.

Despite fears of electoral violence, particularly in the vast interior of the country, the main issues Sunday were logistical.

There were isolated reports of equipment shortages, late arrivals of voting materials to polling stations or observers being refused entry to polling stations.

Student Mariama Diallo worked as an observer for a candidate.  She says there were a lot of people coming to the wrong polling station. She says some people did not know how to vote, and others were coming with ID cards not voter cards. But, she says, we showed people what they needed to do.

AU Commission president Jean Ping praised the peaceful voting process but urged candidates to “respect democratic values, including accepting the verdict of the ballot boxes.”

The poll comes after 50 years of dictatorship which started at independence in 1958 with president-for-life Ahmed Sekou Toure who ruled for 25 years.

His death lead to a coup by General Lansana Conte who kept an iron grip on the country for 24 years until his death in 2008.

This was followed by a year of disastrous mismanagement by a junta of young officers led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara that included the stadium massacre of protesters against his regime.

Camara was wounded in an assassination attempt in December and junta number three General Sekouba Konate took charge, launching the country’s political transition.

On Monday Guineans thanked Konate, who was the architect of the 2008 coup, for leading the country towards an election and fulfilling his promise that no soldier would be allowed to stand for election.

By  Staff – Afronline.org

(Source  Afronline,Voa, Reuters And allafrica.com)

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