Election officials in Guinea have postponed voting for the run-off election originally set for September 19 to pick the West African nation's next president. The process was thrown into doubt by allegations of electoral fraud, clashes between supporters of the 2 run-off candidates, and the death of the president of the country's electoral commission. Officials determined that in the highly charged atmosphere, more time was needed to prepare for the vote. It follows first-round balloting in June that was seen as generally free and fair, but criticized by some candidates as flawed by irregularities.
The election is Guinea's first multi-party contest since the country won independence from France in 1958. Since then it has been under autocratic rule, and this year's balloting represents a hard-won effort to bring about democratic rule.
The United States is an unwavering friend of Guinea's democratic efforts and is working with its Transitional Government through this important period. We have provided funding to support the work of international observers to ensure transparency. Working with others, we have worked to develop a political parties' code of conduct, conduct voter education programs and provide support to security forces to ensure public safety during the process.
While no date has been set for the voting to proceed, the U.S.-supported observer teams will play a very important role in ensuring that credible election occurs with the shortest possible technical delay.