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Guinea's ruling party wins elections, opposition rejects results

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Guinea's ruling party and its allies have been declared the winners of last month's legislative elections but the opposition is refusing to recognise the results of polls observers said were marred by irregularities.

The Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party headed by Alpha Conde, who became the country's first democratically elected president in 2010, won 53 seats in the national assembly and its small party allies seven, the electoral commission said in a statement late Friday.

But the opposition parties, which won a total of 53 seats in the September 28 polls, called the official results "unrealistic".

"We will not recognise the results, which are not in keeping with the people's vote," opposition coalition spokesman Sydia Toure told AFP.

The opposition's reaction has raised fears that violence could erupt in the west African country, whose history has been marked by political and military turmoil and bloody crackdowns on protesters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, even before the results were announced, appealed Friday for "all parties to maintain calm and resolve all differences by legal means".

The results, which must be confirmed by the Supreme Court, represented a voter turnout of 64 percent in a country the size of Britain with a population of 11.2 million.

Moustapha Naite, spokesman for the RPG, praised the ruling party as "the premier political force in the country... and today in the national assembly".

But international observers said on October 9 that there were serious flaws in the election which affected the credibility of the vote.

"Breaches and irregularities were observed in a certain number of constituencies, preventing a significant number of votes from being taken into account," they said in a joint statement.

The observers included the region's top UN envoy Said Djinnit as well as representatives from the European Union and west African bloc ECOWAS.

Controversy stalked the polls, which should have taken place within six months of Conde's inauguration in December 2010.

However, they were pushed back with opposing factions unable to agree on conditions for the elections, leaving the role of parliament to be played by an unelected National Transitional Council.

In the interim period, Guinea has remained crippled by political deadlock, ethnic rivalries and recurring rumours of coup plots.

Opposition protests have repeatedly been met by deadly police violence and security was beefed up in Conakry after the vote, with mounting opposition anger over the expected result.

The last legislative elections in Guinea took place in June 2002 during the dictatorship of General Lansana Conte, who died in December 2008 after 24 years in power.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131019/guineas-ruling-party-wins-elections-opposition-rejects-results