Guinean authorities postponed on Wednesday a presidential election run-off due in four days, casting doubt on the minerals-producing West African state’s bid to return to civilian rule.
Street battles left one dead and 50 injured this week as rival political camps traded accusations of attempted vote-rigging, while turmoil within the election body itself had made a delay to Sunday’s poll look increasingly inevitable.
Election officials emerging from hours of talks in the capital Conakry blamed the postponement on a lack of necessary voting equipment and said it could take up to two weeks for arrangements to be in place.
“This is a hope that has been unfulfilled, an important opportunity that has gone by the wayside,” junta leader Sekouba Konate, who has won international plaudits for his decision to relinquish power, told national television.
Foumba Kourouma, a member of the election commission CENI, said authorities would continue talks yesterday to determine when the election run-off could be held.
Analysts have said a successful election in Guinea, seen as a linchpin of stability in a region scarred by three civil wars, is key to billions of dollars in planned mining investments and could draw a line under decades of authoritarian rule since independence from France in 1958.
Favorite and former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo’s camp had insisted the run-off must take place on time, while rival Alpha Conde says several conditions must be met before a fair poll can be held.
“We know it is going to be postponed given the delays in the provision of the necessary equipment,” a source close to Diallo said just before Konate confirmed the delay.