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Guinea poll chief dies days before critical vote

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CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A family friend says Guinea's election commission chief has died just days before a scheduled critical election.

Mamadou Bah says Ben Sekou Sylla died overnight Monday at a Paris hospital. Sylla has been ill for some time and a temporary successor was appointed. But his death raises succession issues that could impact the presidential runoff scheduled for Sept. 19.


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Sylla was one of two officials charged with vote tampering during the first presidential poll in June. He was sentenced last week to one year in prison.

Guinea's prime minister said Monday he thought the vote could go forward despite pre-election violence over the weekend. The troubled West African country has known only authoritarian rule since independence from France in 1958.


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