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January 16, 2010

Political Opponents in Guinea Nominate 2 for PM

Political opponents of Guinea's military government have nominated two people to be the new prime minister as part of a transitional government leading to elections.  It is part of a deal reached in Burkina Faso that includes the country's injured military leader remaining outside Guinea for the time being.

Guinea's opposition coalition of political parties, civil society groups, and trade unions nominated civil society spokesman Jean-Marie Dore and labor leader Hadja Rabiatou Sérah Diallo to be the new civilian prime minister.

Dore says it was not an easy debate but coalition leaders eventually agreed on the two candidates by consensus, and it will now be up to acting leader General Sekouba Konate to choose who will be the prime minister in a transitional government.

Diallo says the next prime minister must ensure the neutrality of the vote to follow in six months time by not favoring any of Guinea's political parties.  That, she says, will bring about real democracy.

Everyone in the 101-member transitional authority and the current ruling military council will be barred from running in June elections to restore Guinea to constitutional rule 13 months after the military coup that brought Captain Moussa Dadis Camara to power.

Captain Camara agreed to this transitional authority following talks with General Konate and regional mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore.  As part of the plan, Captain Camara will, for the time being, remain in Burkina Faso where he is recovering from being shot in the head more than one month ago.

He was shot by the former chief of the presidential guard who says Captain Camara was trying to blame him for the killing of more than 157 opposition protesters in September.  A U.N. inquiry into that violence says there are sufficient grounds for presuming direct criminal responsibility by Captain Camara for that killing.

The African Union says the deal for a transitional authority is a positive evolution of the situation and shows progress toward ending the crisis.  Commission Chairman Jean Ping urged all leaders to continue on the path until Guinea is returned to full constitutional order.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the deal is a "decisive stage" in resolving the political crisis that followed the death of long-time leader Lansana Conte in December 2008.