Guinea presidential vote may be delayed by a week: France
Guinea's presidential run-off vote slated for Sunday is likely to be delayed by a week following the naming of a new election commission head, the French foreign minister said Wednesday.
"The protagonists, (International Francophonie Organisation - OIF) president Abdou Diouf, and myself, we are thinking no longer (October) 24 but 31, in order to have elections that are sufficiently calm and transparent," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told AFP.
"If the two candidates agree, that would be great," said Kouchner in a separate interview with TV5Monde ahead of a Francophonie summit in Switzerland.
Guinea's interim government on Tuesday evening named Mali national Siaka Toumani Sangare, the OIF representative in the troubled country, to head the independent national electoral commission (CENI), an appointment welcomed by the rival camps.
The run-off pits former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, who took 43 percent of the votes in the first round on June 27, against veteran opposition figure Alpha Conde with 18 percent.
The appointment came amid continuing violence in the capital Conakry, which saw two supporters of Diallo killed by police.
Amadou Oury Ba, the vice-president of Diallo's UFDG party, welcomed Sangare's appointment to succeed Lounceny Camara and said the party was now ready to proceed with the vote.
"Our principal demand was to remove Camara from the head of the CENI, and even with the nomination of a foreigner, we support the decision," he said.
Diallo had demanded the sacking of Camara, whom he accuses of being wrongfully appointed and being too close to Conde.
Former prime minister Francois Lonseny Fall, a supporter of Conde, said the change was a compromise that could bring an end to the crisis engulfing the elections.
"Even though we were not consulted on the choice, we welcome his nomination, said Fall. "We sincerely hope that the election will be held as scheduled on Sunday."
Hugo Sada, the OIF's official for peace, democracy and human rights, said Sangare would be meeting with his two deputies on the CENI and the election candidates to study the feasibility of holding the poll on the scheduled date.
"I believe they will agree the closest possible date to that," he said.
© 2010 AFP