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Guinea Opposition to Protest for Election Dialogue

  • Anne Look

Guinea President Alpha Conde (file photo)

Guinea President Alpha Conde (file photo)

DAKAR, Senegal -- Guinea's opposition leaders are calling for nationwide protests to push for dialogue with the government about much-delayed legislative elections. The elections are seen as the final step of what has been a tumultuous transition to democracy following the 2008 military coup and 50 years of authoritarian rule.

Guinea's main opposition parties say they will take to the streets to demand greater transparency and involvement in the organization of the legislative elections.

Opposition spokesman Aboubacar Sylla says they have decided to launch protests, beginning Thursday. He says the protests will continue until the government takes their demands into account, in particular calls for a restructuring of the electoral commission and an audit of the voter rolls.

Opposition leaders are demanding talks with the government to reach a consensus on the organization of the vote.

No date is currently set for the legislative elections, which are already a year late. They should have been held by May 2011, six months after the inauguration of President Alpha Conde.

Last week, President Conde again pushed back the poll, which had been most recently set for July 8. The president pointed to "technical reasons" related to voter registration and revision of the voter lists.

However, it is not the repeated delays that have inflamed the opposition. Rather, opposition leaders say they suspect the government is trying to rig the elections in favor of the president's party.

Opposition leader Cellou Dallein Diallo says his group is calling on their supporters to not take part in this "masquerade" of a revision to the voter list. He says they should not participate until they have assurances that the voter registration process is transparent and secure.

A National Transition Council, put in place in 2010, continues to serve as the nation's parliament. Guinea last held legislative elections in 2002.
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