24 Oct 2010

Rival Guinea presidential candidates call for calm

8:29 pm on 24 October 2010

The two rival candidates in Guinea's presidential election have called for calm and asked their supporters to avoid stoking ethnic tensions.

The separate appeals came after the supporters fought running battles on the streets of the capital, Conakry, on Saturday reports the BBC.

Violence flared following the announcement on Friday by the head of the electoral commission that the deciding round of the election, which was planned for for Sunday, would be indefinitely postponed.

Supporters of the two candidates, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde, fought running battles in Conakry, and clashes were also reported in Kankan and Siguiri.

The UN warned that the long delay could raise the risk of instability, while the US said the poll was very important to Guinea's future.

The election is intended to be the first democratic poll in the West African country, after 52 years of authoritarian rule.

The military seized power in 2008, leading to two years of political upheaval.

The run-off vote was initially due to be held in July; this is the third time it has been postponed.