World News

Guinea's Conde wins presidency with 59.5% of vote: election commission

CONAKRY (Reuters) - President Alpha Conde of Guinea won the Oct. 18 election with 59.5% of the vote, according to a full preliminary tally from the election commission on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: Guinea's President Alpha Conde laughs as he addresses a conference in Berlin, Germany November 19, 2019. John MacDougall/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The victory, which requires confirmation by the Constitutional Court, gives a third term in office to the 82-year-old Conde after a bitterly fought election in which the opposition said he had no right to participate.

Conde says a constitutional referendum in March reset his two-term limit, but opponents say he is breaking the law by holding onto power.

Results were announced in batches in recent days, and already showed Conde with an unassailable lead, sparking street protests in opposition strongholds in which at least 17 died.

The capital Conakry was largely calm on Saturday as Conde supporters in yellow T-shirts celebrated by driving around the city centre. Elsewhere, soldiers in red berets patrolled the streets in trucks, some fit with gun turrets, a Reuters witness said.

Former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, Conde’s nearest rival with 33.5% of the vote, said he has evidence of fraud and plans to file a complaint with the constitutional court. Diallo, 68, also finished runner-up to Conde in the 2010 and 2015 elections.

Under the law, complaints must be filed within eight days of the preliminary results.

Conde’s 2010 election after decades in opposition raised hopes for democratic progress in the bauxite-producing West African country.

But his move to run again has many observers worried about a backslide towards authoritarianism in a region that had made strides towards multi-party democracy since the 1990s.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara is also running for a third term in elections this month after using a change in the constitution as a reset, sparking violent street clashes in recent days.

Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne/Mark Heinrich