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Guinea's Alpha Conde Wins Elections Amid Protests

Conakry, Guinea - Long-term opposition leader Alpha Conde has won Guinea's delayed presidential run-off election, overturning a massive loss from the first round of voting.

According to preliminary results, the 72-year-old received 52.5 per cent of the vote in polls aimed at ending decades of authoritarian rule and handing over power from the junta that seized control in December2008.

Former prime minister Cellou Dalain Diallo received 47.5 per cent of the vote.

However, the polls - considered the country's first democratic vote since the West African nation gained independence from France in 1958 - were marred by violence and demonstrations in some parts of the country on Monday.

Conde called his victory a 'historic moment' and a 'new era,' reaching out to his opponent and calling for cooperation.

'The time has come to join hands,' he said.

Diallo's Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) has refused to accept the results. In a statement posted on its website Monday, the UFDG claimed fraud and declared Diallo the winner according to its count.

The former prime minister is planning to challenge the result in Guinea's courts.

Report said dozens of people were injured in clashes with police after Diallo's supporters took to the streets of the capital Conakry and other towns, burning tyres and setting up barricades.

Conde's Rally for the People of Guinea (RPG) said on its website that gunshots could be heard around the capital on Monday.

The situation appeared calmer on Tuesday.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Diallo's supporters to accept the result and resolve any difference through peaceful means.

The anger came after a huge turnaround in the fortunes of the candidates, who represent Guinea's two largest ethnic groups - the Peul and Malinke.

Diallo received around 44 per cent of the vote, more than double Conde's tally, in the first round of voting in June.

The first round was also marred by violent protests after Conde levelled fraud accusations. The heads of the electoral commission were subsequently found guilty of fraud and the run-off was delayed due to logistical problems.

The poll was aimed at transferring power from the military junta that seized control of the bauxite-producing nation after the death of long-term president Lansana Conte in 2008.

The junta initially promised quick elections after appointing Captain Moussa Dadis Camara as president.

When Camara threatened to hold on to power, a mass demonstration against the leader led to a bloodbath in September 2009. More than 150 people were killed and 1,000 injured by government troops,according to human rights groups.

Camara later survived an assassination attempt and is recovering in Burkina Faso.

 

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