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AD49: Guineans confident in their freedom to vote, but not in the fairness of the count

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Key findings
  • Guineans are evenly divided as to whether the country is going in the right direction (50%) or the wrong direction (49%) (Figure 1). There are pronounced regional differences on this question: The proportion of citizens who say the country is headed in the right direction ranges from 90% in the president’s home region of Kankan (90%) 2 and 66% in neighbouring Faranah to lows of 24% in Labé, 36% in Conakry, and 38% in Kindia
  • But many Guineans have concerns about the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI). Although two-thirds (67%) say the 2013 legislative elections were “completely free and fair” or “free and fair with minor problems” (Figure 5), respondents are evenly divided between those who trust the commission “somewhat” or “a lot” (48%) and those who have little or no trust in it (48%)
  • Half (50%) of Guineans have no fear of becoming a victim of election-related intimidation or violence, but 36% fear this “somewhat” or “a lot” (Figure 8). Nonetheless, three in four (77%) feel completely free to vote for the candidate of their choice

Guineans are heading toward their second competitive presidential election since the end of Gen. Lansana Conté’s 24-year reign in 2010. The election contest pits incumbent President Alpha Condé and his Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) against seven challengers, including opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo and his Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG). In the 2010 general election, President Condé narrowly won in the second round, 52.52% to Diallo’s 47.48%.

Findings from the latest Afrobarometer survey, conducted in March 2015, suggest that the political polarisation revealed in the previous election has persisted. While Guineans overwhelmingly agree that regular and competitive elections are the best way to choose their leaders, they are divided in their views regarding the direction of the country, the fairness and security of the election environment, and trust in the electoral commission. They are split as to the likely reliability of the vote count, a central issue in deadly protests in the wake of legislative elections in 2013.

Despite these concerns, a large majority of Guineans say they feel “completely free” to vote as they choose.

Graph: Overall direction of the country | 2015

Our latest press release on Guinea elections.

As Guinea, which ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in 2011, approaches its second multiparty presidential election, these findings provide a window on how citizens think their government is delivering on its commitment to conduct secure, high-quality, and competitive elections.

Thomas Bentley

Thomas Bentley previously served as a research assistant for Afrobarometer.

Kangwook Han

Kangwook Han is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Jeonbuk National University, South Korea.

Peter Halley Penar

Peter Halley Penar previously served as a research assistant for Afrobarometer.