Guinea opposition secures key seat in tense parliament vote

Reuters

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's election authorities on Thursday declared an opposition politician winner of the country's most hotly contested parliamentary seat, a result that should ease tensions and is likely to deny the ruling party of an outright majority.

Final results from the September 28 vote are due on Friday, but the announcement of the result from Matoto, a heavily populated district in the capital, came after days of recounting and diplomatic pressure to avoid threatened street protests.

The parliamentary vote is due to complete a long-delayed transition back to civilian rule for the world's largest bauxite exporter, which is also home to some of the world's largest iron ore reserves.

Mohamed Aly Doumbouya, a candidate for the opposition UFR party, won the Matoto seat, defeating the ruling party candidate by a slim margin, according to the election commission.

The result means the ruling RPG party won 18 of the 38 seats contested in the direct vote. The opposition UFDG and UFR parties won 14 and 5 seats, respectively, in the direct vote.

The remaining 76 seats in parliament will be decided by proportional representation.

"The current results mean that no party will individually secure an absolute majority," said Alpha Amadou Bano Barry, a political analyst in Conakry.

Fearing that delays in announcing the results may lead to a resurgence of violence that killed about 50 people in the run-up to the vote this year, the United Nations and the international community at the weekend pressured officials to quickly announce the result for Matoto.

A period of coalition-building is expected to follow the declaration of results.

Uncertainty over the parliamentary vote, which was delayed by over two years, contributed to the dampening of enthusiasm of major mining firms, which have in recent years pledged billions of dollars in investments, mainly for iron ore operations.

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