Guinea sets date for legislative polls

Guinea's first freely elected president Alpha Conde cheers with interim leader Sekouba Konate during his swearing-in ceremony on December 21, 2010 in Conakry.

Guinea's legislative elections will be held on March 12, 2013, new poll commissioner Bakary Fofana has said.


The elections were postponed when President Alpha Condé came to power in 2010.


Mr Fofana told reporters in Conakry that preparations were already underway to hold the polls “without any further delays or postponement”.


The electoral commission last September announced that the polls would be held on December 29, 2012 after several failed attempts to reach a consensus between the government and

the opposition.


Among other things, the civil society-backed opposition has been urging President Condé to replace Mr Lonsény Camara, the controversial election commissioner.


The call followed a court injunction that found him guilty of tampering with the ballot in favour of the incumbent leader during the 2010 presidential election.


Mr Camara bowed to pressure last month and acknowledged that he was too close to the incumbent government to organise a free election.


The opposition has also been jittery about the composition of the electoral commission which it argued was not representative.


Furthermore, the opposition also accused President Condé of deliberately delaying the polls to persuade the electorate in opposition backyards, which comprise the majority Fula-speaking people and areas of the opposition leader Cellou Dalien Diallo.


Analysts say the ruling Rassemblement de Peuple Guinéene party would have lost in the legislative elections if the polls were held shortly after it came to power.


As the postponement dragged on, there were several nationwide demonstrations by the opposition and civil society groups which culminated in clashes with the police.


The demonstrations continued up to last month with an authorised match led by political figures including former Prime Ministers Sidya Toure and Lansana Kouyate demanding free, fair and transparent legislative polls.


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