CONAKRY (Reuters) – Voters in Guinea went to the polls on Sunday as octogenarian President Alpha Conde sought to increase his decade in energy after pushing by way of a brand new structure that allowed him to run for a 3rd time period, sparking months of violent protests.
At the very least 50 individuals have been killed over the previous yr throughout demonstrations towards the brand new structure, Amnesty Worldwide mentioned, and violence erupted repeatedly throughout campaigning in latest weeks.
Within the capital, Conakry, dozens of voters queued quietly at a polling station in a major college whose exterior wall was plastered with posters of Conde.
“I hope that issues will occur in peace,” mentioned Mariama Camara, a housewife.
“I voted for change,” mentioned Mamadou Diallo, a dealer.
Whereas no dependable opinion polls can be found, many political analysts count on Conde to prevail after he received overwhelming approval for the brand new structure in a referendum in March – though that vote was boycotted by the opposition.
Conde, 82, faces 11 challengers, together with his long-time rival Cellou Dalein Diallo. Diallo, a former prime minister who completed runner-up to Conde in elections in 2010 and 2015, has warned about fraud and mentioned he’ll problem any irregularities.
Conde, who has described the constitutional reform as honest and democratic, says he wants extra time to complete main mining and infrastructure initiatives within the West African nation.
“Guinea can’t develop if there’s not peace, safety and unity. We are not looking for violence,” Conde mentioned after casting his poll on the Boulbinet major college in Conakry.
“Those that wish to problem the outcomes should accomplish that inside a authorized framework, with recourse to the constitutional courtroom,” he mentioned, wearing white and flanked by bodyguards.
Guinea has made progress growing its mineral riches, together with bauxite and iron ore, and gross home product has doubled below Conde’s presidency. However many Guineans complain the mining growth has not ended frequent energy cuts and unemployment.
The nationwide election fee mentioned on Saturday provisional outcomes can be revealed inside three days after it receives the final polling station tally. The constitutional courtroom will then have eight days to declare a winner.
The United Nations has warned about divisive appeals to ethnic affiliations on the marketing campaign path. Conde and Diallo each draw a lot of their help from their respective ethnic communities.
Guinea has been tormented by sporadic political unrest since independence from France in 1958, typically fuelled by ethnic tensions.
Professional-democracy activists are involved that the election – and a presidential vote due later this month in neighboring Ivory Coast – might harm democracy in a area that had beforehand received reward for its leaders’ adherence to time period limits.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who first received energy in 2010, can be in search of re-election, having argued that a new structure in 2016 reset the clock on the two-term restrict.
(Writing by Hereward Holland; Enhancing by Frances Kerry)
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