CONAKRY (Reuters) - The second-placed party in Guinea’s presidential vote has said it will challenge some poll results after provisional figures put veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde behind former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo.
The two will go head to head in a July 18 run-off for the presidency of the world’s biggest bauxite exporter after the election commission said Diallo won the first round with 39.72 percent, ahead of Conde on 20.67 percent but short of an overall majority.
“We have already lodged some appeals, and we are preparing others for Monday,” Moustapha Naite, deputy communications director of Conde’s Assembly of Guinean People (RPG), said on Saturday.
The RPG said it would challenging some, but not all, the results after complaining that the lack of results from about 150 polling stations in the province of Haute Guinea and fraud in two districts in the capital had favored its rivals.
Some analysts had earlier said they expected the publication of results to lead to trouble, but the streets of Conakry were quiet on Saturday.
Candidates have eight days from the publication of results to contest them in the Supreme Court, which then has three days to make its ruling.
Even if they are overturned, these results are unlikely substantively to affect the result of the first round of voting, which took place in over 8,000 polling stations.
The poll has been billed as the best chance for the West African state, the biggest exporter of aluminum ore bauxite, to end over half a century of authoritarian and military rule since it won independence from France in 1958.
Election observers from the European Union and the Carter Center said they were broadly satisfied with the vote, while noting there were irregularities caused by logistical problems.
A successful poll would help draw a line under a turbulent year and a half of military rule since the death of President Lansana Conte in 2008 and kick-start further aid and investment.
Diallo’s Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) said it had not yet decided whether it would challenge any results.
The two leading candidates, who come from Guinea’s two main ethnic groups, are likely to form alliances with unsuccessful contenders from Sunday’s 24-man ballot, a process in which the position of third-placed Sidya Toure will be crucial.
Diallo, a 58-year-old Peul who was a minister and prime minister under Conte, has already appealed to supporters of other parties to back him.
“I would like to invite my countrymen, those in political parties who have not been given the chance to enter the second round, to join with the UFDG ... and win votes from a maximum of Guineans in order to win this election,” he said after results were announced late on Friday evening.
Conde, a 72-year-old Malike, has opposed all Guinea’s three recent and generally unpopular leaders — junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, Conte, and Sekou Toure.
Writing by David Lewis; editing by Tim Pearce