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September 06, 2012

Guinea's Electoral Commission Chief Resigns

by Anne Look

DAKAR, Senegal — The head of Guinea's electoral commission says he is stepping down as part of an eventual reorganization of the country's electoral body. The opposition has taken to the streets repeatedly this year to call for an overhaul of the electoral commission ahead of much-delayed parliamentary polls.
 
Electoral commission chief Louceny Camara made the announcement on state television. He says certain political leaders are using his presence at the commission as a pretext for delaying elections, and so he is stepping down in the interest of the nation. Camara says he asked his trade union not to back him for a post in the coming reorganization of the electoral body, and that he hopes his departure will help the process move forward.

Seven commission members linked to the opposition resigned last week.
 
For more than a year the opposition has been demanding an overhaul of the electoral commission and an audit of voter rolls. It accuses the government of trying to rig the vote in favor of the ruling party.

Camara is seen as an ally of President Alpha Conde, and his resignation was among the opposition's demands.

Recent opposition demonstrations have turned violent, with clashes between security forces and protesters.

Guinea's legislative elections are meant to be the final step in what has been a tumultuous post-coup transition to democracy after 50 years of authoritarian rule. The vote should have been held by May 2011 but has been pushed back multiple times due to disputes over how the balloting will be organized.

At present there is no new date for the vote.