Guineans start to vote in presidential run-off

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Conakry - The presidential run-off started on Sunday in Guinea which pits Cellou Dalein Diallo, presidential candidate from the Union of Guinea's Democratic Forces against Alpha Conde, presidential candidate from the Rally of Guinean People.

The polling stations opened at 7am local time as scheduled and will close at 6pm local time. About four million Guineans will cast their votes in the presidential run-off.

Guinea held the first round of the presidential election on 27 June this year during which Conde won 18.25 percent of the vote while Diallo got 43.69 percent of the vote.

Covering an area of 245,900 square kilometers, the country borders the Atlantic Ocean.

Her neighbours include Sierra Leone to the south, Guinea Bissau to the north, and also Liberia, Cote d'voire, Mali, Gambia and Senegal. Conakry is the country's capital.

Guinea's population stands at around 9.8 million, according to 2008 figures. People here use French as official language while local languages are also favored by different communities.

The country declared independence in 1958. The death of Guinea's then leader Lansana Conte led to a coup by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in December 2008.

Situation deteriorated in the country after 28 September 2009, when troops opened fire on a crowd attending an opposition rally in a Conakry stadium protesting Camara's junta.

General Sekouba Konate has headed a transition government since the beginning of 2010.

On the economic front, the country stands among the world's poorest, with 40 percent of the population living below the poverty line. However, Guinea is rich in mineral resources, possessing over 40 percent of the world's known reserves of bauxite.

The upcoming presidential run-off, which had initially been scheduled for 19 September, is considered as an essential step for returning Guinea to constitutional order.