Violence erupts as Guinea opposition candidate claims victory

Guinea’s electoral commission says the opposition candidate’s claim that he won the 18 October election carried no weight

The leading opposition candidate in Guinea, Céllou Dalein Diallo, is still claiming that he won the first round of the 18 October presidential election, but his claim has been disputed quickly by the Commission électorale nationale indépendante (Céni) and the government, setting the stage for a stand-off.

“Despite the serious anomalies that marred the smooth running of the … election and in view of the results that came out of the ballot boxes, I am victorious in this election in the first round,” Diallo told journalists and cheering supporters.

He did not give any figures but said the tally was based on his party’s tabulation of votes, not an official tally being conducted by Céni, which is yet to publish results.

The electoral commission said Diallo’s claim carried no weight.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission is the only body authorised to give provisional results. It is neither for a political party nor for any individual to do so,” Mamadi Kaba, a spokesman for the Commission, told Reuters.

Irresponsible statement

“We regret the attitude of Diallo and we say that this declaration is null and void,” he added.

Guinea’s government said that Diallo’s statement was irresponsible and could sow confusion and undermine peace in the West African state. It warned it could launch criminal charges against him.

The government said results from over 15,000 polling stations were still being tallied. “It is impossible, at this stage of the process, to have neither trends, let alone the results of the vote.”

Death and injury

Diallo is the main challenger to Guinea’s 82-year-old incumbent president, Alpha Condé, who is seeking a third mandate after a constitutional change in March which sparked deadly protests.

Following his announcement, Diallo’s supporters swept into the streets in his strongholds, declaring his alleged victory.

Diallo said on Twitter that three young men had been killed by security forces in Conakry as they celebrated his victory. Several others were injured.

The government was not immediately available to comment on the deaths.

False results

The security minister, Damantang Albert Camara, earlier accused Diallo’s party of publishing false results and warned that it risked triggering violence.

“This strategy of forced, premature and unjustified celebration was carefully planned well before the election,” a statement signed by Camara said.

Rights groups say at least 50 people having been killed in the past year in demonstrations against a constitutional change that allowed Condé to seek at least six more years in power.

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