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Calm Needed As Guinea Counts The Vote


Guinean police carrying automatic weapons clear the mostly Peul suburb of Bambeto in Conakry, Guinea, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, as groups of UFDG youth set up barricades.

The pride and optimism that marked Guinea's first democratic election since independence is fading amid clashes.

The pride and optimism that marked Guinea's first democratic election since independence is fading amid clashes between rival supporters of the 2 candidates in the November 7 presidential runoff. The nation's interim government has declared a state of emergency that bans public demonstrations and imposes overnight curfews. These prudent public safety precautions will remain in effect until after Guinea's Supreme Court verifies the election results.

The United States condemns the violence, which took on aspects of an ethnic clash, following preliminary results declaring longtime opposition leader Alpha Conde the winner. At least 10 people have been killed in the violence and more than 200 injured. The fighting spilled into neighboring Sierra Leone, underscoring the seriousness of the situation.

Such incidents have no place in the democratic society that Guinea aspires to become after years of dictatorship and military rule. We call on Guinea's political leaders to control their supporters and urge that those who wish to challenge the provisional results use the established constitutional procedures to resolve these differences.

Given the tensions seen since the first round of voting in June, calm and peaceful engagement are needed to carry the nation through this important period of transition. Guinea has come far in recent months and it time for the nation's dream of democracy, long deferred since independence from France more than 50 years ago, to finally become reality.

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