News / Africa

Minister: Guinea to Hold Polls With or Without Opposition

Guinea's President Alpha Conde speaks at the World Economic Forum, Jan. 26, 2012.Guinea's President Alpha Conde speaks at the World Economic Forum, Jan. 26, 2012.
x
Guinea's President Alpha Conde speaks at the World Economic Forum, Jan. 26, 2012.
Guinea's President Alpha Conde speaks at the World Economic Forum, Jan. 26, 2012.
Guinea will hold long-delayed parliamentary elections this year, to conclude its transition to civilian rule, with or without the participation of the country's main opposition coalition, a government minister said on Friday.

The mineral-rich country originally was supposed to hold the vote in 2011, but it was held up amid wrangling over the makeup of the electoral commission and opposition accusations that the government was planning to rig it.

Eight people were killed and hundreds more wounded during two weeks of clashes this month between security forces and opposition protesters demanding reforms before the election, currently scheduled for May 12, could be held.

Guinea's minister for territorial administration, Alhassane Conde, told Reuters the objections would not block the vote. Guinea President Alpha Conde is not related to the minister.

"Yes, the elections will be held this year, very soon, with or without the opposition," Conde said in an interview at his office in the capital Conakry's administrative district. We don't want to do it without them, but if necessary, we will go ahead and hold the election without them," he said.

Prolonged transition

The vote is meant to be the last step in a drawn-out transition to civilian rule after a coup in late 2008 led to two bloody years with the army in charge.

Conde accused some members of the opposition of making unacceptable conditions to try and delay elections he said they feared losing.

Opposition groups have alleged there were irregularities in awarding a contract to update the electoral register to the South African firm Waymark - and demanded a replacement.

"If we were to bring in a new company to replace Waymark, there is no way we'll be able to organize the election within the next six months," said Conde.

The European Union, a major donor, unblocked about 174 million euros [$223.43 million] in aid after the elections commission proposed a date for the parliamentary polls late last year. But Conde said Guinea risked losing future donor funding if elections were not held by September.

More protest

The opposition this week walked out of talks with the government organized in the wake of this month's violence, accusing the ruling coalition of failing to respect the terms of a planned dialogue over election preparations.

The opposition coalition on Friday called for another round of protests and a strike from April 8, saying the government has not contacted them since they abandoned the talks.

Guinea's main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, who lost to President Conde in a tight presidential run-off in November 2010, told Reuters last week the opposition would do everything to stop the election if it was held without them.

"We'll not participate in the election with Waymark handling the technical process, and we'll disrupt it. We do not want the election to be held without us," Diallo told Reuters during a visit to Senegal.

Guinea is the world's top supplier of the aluminum ore bauxite and holds rich deposits of iron ore, gold and diamonds. But the political turmoil has unnerved investors.

Behind Guinea's political feuding there is a deep-rooted rivalry between the Malinke and the Peul, its two largest ethnic groups. The Malinke broadly support President Conde, while the opposition draws heavily from the Peul.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs