News / Africa

Guinea Holds Long-delayed Legislative Vote

View of voter cards in Conakry on Sept. 26, 2013, on the last campaign day for Guinea's parliamentary elections.
View of voter cards in Conakry on Sept. 26, 2013, on the last campaign day for Guinea's parliamentary elections.
Anne Look
Guinea finally goes to the polls Saturday to vote in legislative elections after two years of delays and deadly protests. Tensions are high, but many hope the election will allow Guineans to put the past four and a half years of tumultuous transition behind them.

Voters will be casting ballots for 114 National Assembly representatives amid heightened distrust between the ruling party and the opposition, and concerns of instability.

The poll that elected President Alpha Conde in 2010 inflamed ethnic tensions and led to three days of deadly violence.  The poll that elected President Alpha Conde in 2010 inflamed ethnic tensions and led to three days of deadly violence.  There were clashes between supporters of opposing camps, and human rights groups say the mostly Peul opposition supporters were targeted by security forces.

These legislative polls were supposed to take place in June 2011 but have been pushed back repeatedly due to wrangling over the organization of the poll.

The most recent delay came just a week ago when the vote was pushed from September 24 to September 28 after international mediation.  The extra four days were to give the electoral commission time to correct what the opposition said were irregularities with the voter list and the placement of polling places following recent redistricting. 

The new parliament is supposed to be the finishing touch to what has been a rocky transition to democracy after the death of authoritarian president, Lansana Conte, in December 2008 and a subsequent military coup thrust the country into chaos.

Guineans say they hope the election will send a message of stability.

Street seller Lancinet Kaba says "these elections are going to give credibility to the government. The legislature is the counterweight to the executive.  Having a National Assembly will reassure donors and investors."

The opposition has accused and continues to accuse the electoral commission and the government of working to rig the elections in the ruling party's favor, something the government and the ruling party deny.

Many Guineans say they are just ready to move on.

Shop owner Amara Conde says "no election is perfect.  If you want to wait and correct everything, then this election will never happen.  We need to put the country first.  We have been waiting for this election for years."

The wrangling over the date and the organization of the poll has largely eclipsed campaign issues.  The vote's high stakes stem in part from the fact that many see this legislative vote as a warm-up match for the 2015 presidential race.

The ruling party has defended the the government's track record, including reforms and infrastructure investments.  The opposition has called on voters to "sanction" the government of President Conde which they say has not done enough to improve standards of living. 

President of the women of the opposition party UFR, Hadja Fatoumata Daffe, says "look at the conditions these women are living in.  It's terrible.  They promised us so much but look they are still here in the same conditions.  We need real change this time."

Despite tensions, campaigning was calm and election officials say preparations were done on time.

More than 5,000 national and international observers are on the ground in Guinea for the vote.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid