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Thousands in Guinea headed to the polls Sunday before the sun rose to cast their vote in the country's second democratic presidential elections in more than half a century.

Some 6 million Guineans are expected to vote for eight candidates at more than 14,800 polling stations under surveillance of anti-riot police, gendarmerie and international observers.

Guinea endured decades of corrupt dictatorship after its independence from France in 1958. In 2008, after the longtime strongman died, a military coup led to tumultuous rule until the junta's leader agreed to go into exile. President Alpha Conde later won the country's first-ever democratic election in 2010.

Conde is running against seven candidates, including main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo. When Conde defeated Diallo in 2010, clashes broke out between their supporters along ethnic lines. Similar clashes this week killed at least three people and injured some 50.

In Yembeya, a neighborhood on the periphery of the capital, voters who had been lining up since 6 a.m. still awaited voting materials.

"The head of this voting bureau went to go find the materials taking his own car. He hasn't yet returned," said Habib Balde, nervous he wouldn't be able to vote.

Mamadou Bhoye Diallo, an opposition supporter, said he voted with melancholy.

"With these irregularities, I am convinced that it is lost for my candidate," he said of main opposition candidate Diallo.

Conde's opponents had said the vote should be pushed back to Oct. 21, saying voter cards and other election materials were not properly distributed. But the national electoral group said it saw no evidence that warranted postponement.

Mamadou Mansare was happy after placing his vote.

"This is a memorable vote. I just placed my vote and my candidate will win and we will celebrate, and the world will be witness," he said.

Many analysts believe the vote will eventually head to a second round that could see Conde face off against Diallo yet again. Results are expected late Monday.


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