Guinea's Konate demands new poll date

2010-09-22 07:15

Conakry - The head of Guinea's military junta, General Sekouba Konate, on Tuesday demanded a new presidential run-off election date in front of the two candidates and the country's political class.

"I demand a date for the second round" of the poll, the general told the government, the national council for the transition, and members of the national independent electoral commission (CENI), gathered in the buildings of the dissolved parliament.

The rival candidates, former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo and veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde, were also in attendance after last Sunday's planned second round of voting was called off at the last minute.

"A second postponement of the presidential election is ruled out, I won't accept it. I remind you that my mission is finished," said Konate, who took over leadership in the west African country in January and pledged to hand power in Guinea back to elected civilians.

"I have done my duty and I expect others to do the same so that we do not miss this historical moment," Konate said.

"My mission has been over for a long time, now I help others with theirs. I demand both a date and that it be respected. For me it's a question of honour," he said.

The second round of the presidential poll was called off on September 15, when the CENI said there were logistical and technical problems and that it would need about two more weeks to prepare for the vote.

In the first round of the poll, held late in June, Diallo won more than 43% of the votes and Conde took 18%. That election was the first free poll in Guinea since independence from France, because the country has been ruled for half a century either by dictatorship or by the military.

In what seemed to be a veiled reference to the candidates and interim Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore, Konate blamed the situation on "the ambitions of those who want to get into power and those who don't want to give it up".