Guinea’s main opposition leader has thrown the country into confusion by declaring himself president.
Cellou Dalein Diallo made the announcement on Monday afternoon as the National Electoral Commission, known by its French acronym (CENI), counted results of Sunday’s vote.
There had been no results released by the commission, which has condemned the action as premature.
Diallo is among 11 people contesting against 81-year old Alpha Conde, the incumbent president who is seeking a third term, after controversially changing the country’s constitution that allowed for only two terms of five years each.
Diallo’s UDFG had said Conde’s candidacy was illegal and it casted doubt about the competence of the electoral Commission. Diallo also accused Conde of seeking to rig the election, after citing irregularities in Sunday’s voting.
“Despite the serious anomalies that marred the smooth running of the election, and in view of the results that came out of the ballot boxes, I am victorious in this election in the first round,” Diallo declared in a brief statement issued out to the media in the capital, Conakry on Monday.
He added: “I invite all my fellow citizens who love peace and justice to stay vigilant and committed to defend this democratic victory.”
The UFDG said it was able to conduct its own counting through its party agents because results at individual polling states were public.
The announcement provoked celebration from Diallo’s supporters in and outside his party’s headquarters.
Reports indicate that security forces fired tear gas to disperse the opposition supporters.
Diallo, on his official facebook page, announced that three of his supporters were killed by security forces who fired at them for celebrating his victory.
The electoral Commission in a statement described the declaration as “irresponsible” and “dangerous”, stressing that it has the sole mandate as per laws to declare a winner in the election.
The ruling RPG party in a statement also called Diallo’s declaration “irresponsible”, noting that the opposition UFDG was bent on provoking chaos.
But it urged its supporters to remain calm. The final results from the electoral commission are not expected until Wednesday.
If there is going to be a second round of voting, it had been slated for November 24. This is the third time the two arch political rivals are facing off in the contest for the presidency, since 2010.
Diallo, 68, a former Prime Minister of Guinea, has rejected all two past elections. Monday’s development raised fears of further violence in a country where activists have already counted over 90 deaths since Conde announced his controversial decision to run for third term.
On the eve of the election, violence erupted after armed men reportedly attacked a military barracks, killing an army commander.