A local restaurant, whose owner supports Guinea’s incumbent President Alpha Conde, displays posters in Conakry, Guinea, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, Guinea President Alpha Conde is far ahead of his closest competitor in his bid for re-election and could garner enough support to avoid a runoff, according to preliminary results available Saturday. (AP Photo/Youssouf Bah)
By BOUBACAR DIALLO, Associated Press
CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea President Alpha Conde is well ahead in his bid for re-election and could garner enough support to avoid a runoff, according to preliminary results, though his closest rival on Saturday denounced an “electoral hold-up” and said he would organize demonstrations against the vote.
With as much as 90 percent of votes counted, the latest tally from the country’s electoral commission showed Conde with 2.2 million votes, more than 1 million more than leading opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo. Figures from Friday pointed to a turnout of around 66 percent of 6 million registered voters.
The Oct. 11 vote was only the second democratic presidential contest since Guinea gained independence from France in 1958. Violence marked the run-up to the poll, with at least three killed, and many worry the opposition will take to the streets if Conde wins outright in the first round — a feat that requires that he receive more than 50 percent of votes cast.
Earlier this week, Diallo and fellow opposition candidate Sidya Toure — who placed third in 2010 — withdrew from the process, alleging fraud. On Saturday Diallo said he did not trust the courts to address his concerns and would resort to demonstrations instead.
“I will invite the other candidates and all the citizens who are the real victims of this electoral hold-up to organize, conforming to the law, peaceful demonstrations to express our disapproval of this situation,” Diallo said.
Conde and Diallo faced off in a runoff in 2010. At least seven people were killed in election-related violence that year, and some 50 people died in the run-up to Guinea’s 2013 legislative elections, according to Human Rights Watch.
The electoral commission plans to announce provisional results on Saturday, though possibly not until late evening to reduce the risk of clashes.
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