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Presidential vote set for October 11 in Ebola-hit Guinea

Guinean President Alpha Conde attends a press conference following a conference on Ebola held at the Egmont palace in Brussels, March 3, 2015. © AFP

Guinea says the country's presidential vote is set to be held on October 11 despite doubts about the election timing due to the Ebola crisis.

Guinea’s National Independent Electoral Commission made the announcement despite the existing pressure on the government of President Alpha Conde arising from the deadly Ebola epidemic. The government is still seeking international aid to fight the disease.

In addition, the opposition led by former prime minister, Cellou Dalein Diallo, says electoral regulations in Guinea require that long-delayed local elections, which were originally scheduled for early 2014, be held before the presidential vote. The opposition claims there should be a three to six month gap between the two elections and the government will not be able to enforce this requirement in the set time.

President Conde, who is a former rebel, came to power in the country’s first-ever free presidential election in 2010 after junta rule ended in the country.

Earlier this year, mass opposition rallies staged in the country demanded “anyone but Alpha” become the new president of the predominantly Muslim nation.

Political tensions seem to be mounting in the country, which is grappling with economic crisis and has a history of violence as neither side of the equation is showing willingness to establish a dialogue and agree on a set election framework, thus running the risk of instability and ethnic violence in the small country with 11 million population and life expectancy of only 55.84 years.

Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

The epidemic swept through West Africa last year, with a total of 24,237 suspected cases and 9,951 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. In Guinea alone, Ebola has reportedly killed 2,129 people.



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