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Politicians Already Claiming Victory in Guinea Poll

Guinea’s opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo declared himself winner of Sunday’s vote, defeating Alpha Conde, the incumbent president. Speaking at a press conference in the capital Conakry a day after the hotly contested election, Diallo said he had emerged “victorious” despite “anomalies which marred the ballot”. Outside the building, supporters erupted in joy and chanted “Cellou, president”. Elsewhere in the city, security forces fired tear gas canisters at crowds assembling in support of Diallo. Bakary Mansare, the vice-president of Guinea’s electoral authority, told AFP that Diallo’s self-proclaimed victory was “null and void”. “It is not up to a candidate or a person to proclaim himself the winner outside the bodies defined by the law,” he said. Conde’s RPG party also said in a statement Monday that it condemned “with the utmost firmness the irresponsible and dangerous declaration” by Diallo. It called for its activists to remain calm. Diallo’s announcement sets the stage for a showdown with the government, which insists that Sunday’s vote was fair and that the official electoral authority must declare the results. Signs of a looming electoral dispute began to appear during the vote, however, when Diallo told reporters that Conde could “cheat” his way to power.