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Guinea leader Conde vows to press ahead with polls

09 October 2015, 21:30

Conakry - Guinea's president vowed to press ahead with Sunday's election, dismissing opposition calls for a delay as clashes broke out in the capital ahead of the hotly contested vote.

Opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo again demanded the presidential vote be postponed to allow international monitors to investigate claims of vote rigging, including that minors have been listed on the electoral rolls.

Also Read: Guinea opposition confirms participation in presidential vote

"We will not participate in a sham election. Otherwise, we will not accept the results and I will mobilise along with all the other candidates and the population to reject it," Diallo told crowds that welcomed him from the campaign trail in Conakry on Thursday.

"These people trust me, I will be worthy of their trust," he said, as his supporters blocked the main road through the capital for tens of kilometres.

'The game has begun'

Incumbent President Alpha Conde earlier dismissed calls for the elections to be postponed, telling several reporters, including AFP, that the electoral commission is "perfectly within its rights to fix the date of the election".

While the run up to the campaign has been more peaceful than in previous years, tensions have mounted ahead of the polls that has erupted into violence this week.

Clashes broke out on Thursday afternoon between supporters of Conde - some of them wearing his campaign colour yellow, despite a presidential order to avoid any provocation ahead of the elections - and Diallo's green-and-white clad backers.

Police fired tear after five were wounded in the violence, which saw cars torched and both sides pelting each other with stones.

"The game has begun," said one of Diallo's supporters motioning to the crowd, while in the distance black smoke rose above a market where the clashes had broken out earlier.

Distribution of voter cards

"If Alpha is re-elected it is war, we will no longer accept it," he said in reference the last two elections, which the opposition claims were won by fraud.

Seven candidates facing the president had previously called for the vote to be delayed for at least a week, citing doubts over the reliability of electoral lists and problems with the distribution of voter cards.

A spokesperson for the electoral commission on Wednesday said it was ready for Sunday's ballot, although admitted less than half of voter cards had been distributed in some districts.

Also Read: Deadly clashes in Guinea ahead of presidential vote

The head of the EU's mission to observe the vote, Frank Engel, said he hoped the vote would be free and fair during a visit to N'Zerekore, where at least one person was killed and 80 wounded in clashes this week.

Violence has marred the last two votes held in Guinea, where more than half the population live in poverty despite the country's rich supplies of gold, diamonds and oil.



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