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An Historic Vote In Guinea

A woman walks in front a poster for Guinean presidential candidate, Alpha Conde, hung in front of the home of supporter for his party (file photo)

The vote will return the West African nation to civilian rule after a military coup in 2008.

Officials in Guinea have set October 24 as the date for the presidential run-off balloting postponed last month amid street fighting between unarmed rival political factions that lead to 2 deaths, and the death of the head of the national election commission after a protracted illness. The vote will return the West African nation to civilian rule after a military coup in 2008. It also provides a welcome example of democracy in a region scarred by civil wars and instability.

Two candidates -- former Prime Minister Cellou Dallien Diallo and opposition political leader Alpha Conde -- face each other in the run-off, after each received significant support in first-round voting held in June.

As Election Day approaches, the candidates and their supporters must recognize they have an historic opportunity to return their nation to peace and stability. They should dedicate themselves to the balloting with no further delay, lest anti-democratic forces thwart Guinea's peaceful transition. They should place the national interest above any other consideration, act responsibly in the campaign's final days and prevent provocations or acts of harassment that could bring a return of partisan violence.

Meantime, it is hoped that Guinea's interim leaders and electoral officials will remain neutral and advance the electoral process in a non-partisan manner. Guineans want and Guineans deserve this pivotal moment in their history. It is time for Guinea's dream of democracy, long deferred since independence from France more than 50 years ago, to finally become reality.