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Guinea Opposition Says Its Demands Ignored on Upcoming Election

February 24, 2012

James Butty

Guinea’s interior minister said the country will hold parliamentary elections in May, with or without the consent of the opposition.

The elections were first set to take place last December, but were postponed to satisfy opposition concerns, including a reform of the country’s electoral commission.

Dialogue between the government and the opposition on how the election will be conducted concluded Wednesday.

Interior Minister Alhassane Conde reportedly told the French news agency, AFP, that the elections will go as planned and the opposition is not forced to participate.

Mamadou Dian Balde, editor-in-chief of the Independent and Democrat newspapers, said the interior minister’s reported announcement is not official because the opposition says it was not consulted.

“I was speaking to a political leader, Abubakar Sylla. He said that the opposition will organize a demonstration to protest the government policy because they [the opposition] think that the government does not want to organize a transparent election,” he said.

Balde said dialogue between the government and the opposition in preparing for the election concluded Wednesday.

But, he said the government refused to give in to opposition demands to replace Louceny Camara as chairman of the Guinea’s electoral commission.

“The president, Alpha Conde, does not agree to change the president of that institution [electoral commission], Louceny Camara. The opposition thinks that this guy is working for the government and they fear that, if the electoral commission organizes elections, the government will win [a] majority in these parliamentary elections,” Balde said.

Balde said Conde’s reported announcement that the elections will go on as planned is apparently taken from the recent examples of elections in Ivory Coast and Gabon.

“The government wants take the example about what happened in Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon. In those countries, the opposition didn’t go to the parliamentary elections, so they organized elections with small parties to represent opposition. But, the principle opposition leaders did not attend those elections,” Balde said.

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