Guinea President Urges Opposition to Accept Vote Results
Guinean President Alpha Conde on Wednesday urged party leaders to accept the results of September 28 legislative polls, as security was ramped up in the capital amid fears of violence.
With results trickling in, Conde praised the vote as the dawn of democracy in the chronically unstable west African nation.
But the opposition has already complained of rigging during the election, which was meant to turn the page on a protracted transitional period.
Guinea's electoral commission on Tuesday released some partial and provisional results.
Full provisional results had been due on Wednesday, but officials said tally sheets were still being transported from polling stations on Tuesday.
"I would like to say how proud I am... of your amazing mobilization to make these legislative polls a real success," Conde said in a speech marking the 55th anniversary of Guinea's independence from France.
The election "has allowed us to take another step on the path to democracy," the 75-year-old leader said.
The top U.N. official in West Africa, Said Djinnit, also warned against any attempt to challenge the impending results in the street.
He urged "political parties to respect the verdict of the ballot box and... resort to legal means to settle any dispute that might arise from the polls."
But police and military reinforcements were clearly visible Wednesday on the streets of Conakry, with barricades erected around the headquarters of the electoral commission.
Shops and market stalls remained shut in the tense atmosphere, even more than would usually be expected on the independence day bank holiday.
The marketplace of the vibrant Madina district was frequented only by a few hawkers peddling their wares, and resident Ousmane Cisse described to Agence France Presse the climate of fear in the capital.
"People are scared of looting and are being cautious. There are opportunists who take advantage of this type of situation to commit robberies. That's why the traders aren't opening, especially with the results being published," he said.
Conde became Guinea's first democratically elected president in 2010 but the country has since remained crippled by political deadlock, ethnic rivalries and recurring rumors of coup plots.
"I urge all political party leaders to follow the example of the people and acknowledge with the same maturity the results of the legislative vote," he said at independence celebrations held in the southeastern town of N'Zerekore.
The last parliamentary elections in Guinea took place in June 2002 during the dictatorship of Lansana Conte, who died in December 2008 after 24 years in power.