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.
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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs