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Guinea's ruling party takes early lead in legislative polls

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Guinea's capital Conakry September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Saliou Samb
A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Guinea's capital Conakry September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Saliou Samb

CONAKRY (Reuters) - The party of Guinean President Alpha Conde has taken an early lead, according to the first results from weekend legislative polls published by the elections commission late on Wednesday.

The National Electoral Commission (CENI) initially said it would take days longer than expected to release a result but pledged earlier on Wednesday to announce tallies as they trickled in from 12,000 polling stations.

Conde's RPG party beat out the UFDG of his main opposition rival Cellou Dalein in the city of Fria, home to the leading bauxite producer's Friguia refinery, which is owned by RUSAL but has been shuttered since April 2012.

The ruling party also defeated the UFDG and the UFR, another opposition formation in the bauxite-rich Kindia region.

A small number of provisional results from the overseas vote published by the CENI on Tuesday had already indicated a tight race between Conde's party and Diallo's UFDG.

Saturday's vote was preceded by months of political maneuvering and violent protests, and the opposition has warned it would not tolerate any attempt to rig the vote.

A European Union observers mission on Monday had urged the commission to publish results on a bureau-by-bureau basis to make them as transparent as possible.

After over two years of political haggling, millions of Guineans went to the polls to vote for a national assembly, touted as the completion of the mineral-rich West African country's transition to democracy after a 2008 military coup.

No party is expected to win an outright majority in the 114-seat parliament and coalition-building is expected in the aftermath.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix and Joe Bavier; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Cynthia Osterman)

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