Guinea opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo said on Monday that he had won the first round of the presidential election in the West African state, but his claim was quickly disputed by the electoral commission, paving the way for a stand-off.
“Despite the serious anomalies that marred the smooth running of the … election and in view of the results that came out of the ballot boxes, I am victorious in this election in the first round,” Diallo told journalists and cheering supporters.
He did not give any figures but said the tally was based on his party’s count, not an official tally being conducted by the national election commission, which has yet to publish results.
The electoral commission said Diallo’s claim carried no weight, however.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission is the only body authorized to give provisional results. It is neither for a political party nor for any individual to do so,” Mamadi 3 Kaba, a spokesman for the commission, told Reuters.
“We regret the attitude of Mr. Diallo and we say that this declaration is null and void,” he added.
Diallo is the main challenger to Guinea’s 82-year-old incumbent president, Alpha Conde, who is seeking a third mandate after a constitutional change in March which sparked deadly protests.
Diallo’s party deployed its own election observers to around 15 000 polling stations and said it would publish the results posted outside each one.
Security Minister Damantang Albert Camara accused the party of publishing false results and warned that it risked triggering violence.
“This strategy of forced, premature and unjustified celebration was carefully planned well before the election,” Camara said in a statement.
“There will never be any question of giving in to blackmail and violence.”
Rights groups say at least 50 people having been killed over the past year during demonstrations against the constitutional change that allowed Conde to seek at least six more years in power.