Guinea election protested as fraud

Dec. 26, 2003 at 9:52 PM
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CONAKRY, Guinea, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Few doubted the president of Guinea would win by a landslide, and just as few believed it was anything but a fraud when the results were announced Friday.

The government of Guinea announced Friday that the elderly President Lansana Conte won with 95.6 percent of the vote in last Sunday's presidential election, which was boycotted by the mainstream opposition parties and shunned by international observers.

The U.N.'s Integrated Regional Information Networks reported opposition leaders immediately accused the government of massive vote-rigging, but the result was greeted with indifference by most of Guinea's eight million population.

The main opposition parties, grouped in the Republic Front for Democratic Change, accused the government of massive vote rigging and said they would refuse to recognize Conte's re-election as head of state.

The sudden appearance of two million extra voters on the electoral roll just before the election also caused puzzlement.

The 69-year-old former army colonel, who has ruled Guinea with an iron hand for nearly 20 years, is ill with diabetes and heart trouble and can barely walk.

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