In Guinea, interim military leader General Sekouba Konate has said he will not run in upcoming June presidential elections.
He also said over the weekend that leading members of the transitional government cannot stand in the June 27 elections.
Mamadou Dian Balde, editor of the Independent newspaper in Guinea’s capital, Conakry said leading political party figures have welcomed General Sekouba’s decision.
“The reaction about this announcement is positive because the leaders of the strong political parties are not in this (transitional) government because they knew that if you are minister or a prime minister you will not be a candidate,” he said.
Balde said General Konate’s decision not to stand in the June elections was due largely to pressure from the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the country’s civil society.
“The pressure from the international community and from what happened on 28 September 2009 when military men killed civilians at the stadium is why Sekouba is trying to organize elections and give the power to civilians,” Balde said.
He said the political parties will participate in the scheduled June 27 presidential elections because they want to put the eras of military governments in Guinea behind them.
“The political parties will participate to the elections on June 27 because they want to change the situation by this election. They are ready to see the military people going back to the barracks. Guinea people don’t like military man in power now after Lansana Conte, Moussa Dadis Camara, and now Sekouba Konate,” he said.
Balde said the June elections would be free and transparent because for the first time in many decades a military person would not be running for president in Guinea.
“I think the elections will be a fair election. There will be a transparent election because the organizer (the electoral commission) won’t try to support one candidate against the other like if Sekouba Konate for instance was candidate,” he said.
General Konate warned soldiers over the weekend that he will not allow the military to undermine plans for a return to constitutional rule.
He said he will not hesitate to wipe out anyone who would use ethnicity to disrupt Guinea's democratization process.