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Presidential elections conducted peacefully in Guinea

Guinea's citizens voted peacefully in Sunday's presidential elections after violence hit the country last week. President Conde and his rival Cellou Dalein Diallo urged people to refrain from violence.

On the day of the vote, President Alpha Conde appealed to citizens to maintain harmony. "We are all the same family; please let us vote peacefully together," Conde said.

His chief opponent, Cellou Dalein Diallo, also urged voters and parties "to accept difference of opinion and to respect the choice of each." "This is the law of democracy. I urge all Guineans…to defend their rights and secure their votes," Diallo added.

Security personnel patrolled the streets and security checkpoints were set up. Residents living in some areas in the capital, Conakry, complained about not being able to vote because polling material had not arrived on time. Otherwise, voting in the country was peaceful.

Guinea experienced violence shortly before the polls after the Constitutional Court ruled against an appeal by the opposition to postpone the elections. The request, filed by 63-year-odl Diallo, alleged that the polls were rigged in favor of Conde.

On Saturday, clashes were reported from several areas, where opposition members and supporters of President Conde's party hurled rocks at each other. Seven people were killed on Friday in the country's southeastern Banankoro district.

Much of the violence in Guinea is attributed to the rivalry between the Malinke ethnic group, which backs President Conde and the Fulanis, who support Diallo. Sunday's polls are the second democratic elections in Guinea, which was a dictatorship from 1958 to 2010.

mg/rc (AP, dpa)

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