Voters in Guinea went to the polls on Sunday as octogenarian President Alpha Conde sought to extend his decade in power after pushing through a new constitution that allowed him to run for a third term, sparking months of violent protests.
At least 50 people have been killed in the past year during demonstrations against the new constitution, Amnesty International said, and violence erupted repeatedly during campaigning in recent weeks.
Queues were forming on Sunday outside polling stations in Conakry, the coastal capital of the West African nation of more than 12 million people.
While no reliable opinion polls are available, many political analysts expect Conde to prevail after he won overwhelming approval for the new constitution in a referendum in March - although that vote was boycotted by the opposition.
Conde, 82, faces 11 challengers, including his long-time rival Cellou Dalein Diallo. Diallo, a former prime minister who finished runner-up to Conde in elections in 2010 and 2015, has warned about fraud and said he will challenge any irregularities.
Conde, who has described the constitutional reform as fair and democratic, says he needs more time to finish major mining and infrastructure projects in the West African country.
The United Nations has warned about divisive appeals to ethnic affiliations on the campaign trail. Conde and Diallo both draw much of their support from their respective ethnic communities.
Armed men attacked a military base in western Guinea late on Thursday and killed the camp's commander but it was not clear if the assault was connected to the election.
Pro-democracy activists are concerned that the election - and a presidential vote due later this month in neighbouring Ivory Coast - may damage democracy in a region that had previously won praise for its leaders' adherence to term limits.
Australian Associated Press