Guinea opposition threatens to block polls

2013-05-21 14:12
Alpha Conde (File, AFP)

Alpha Conde (File, AFP)

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Conakry - Guinea's opposition has threatened to prevent parliamentary elections taking place on June 30 unless the South African company responsible for managing the electoral roll is replaced, its leader said.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, head of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), said late on Monday that his party wanted Waymark and its local partner dropped in favour of "another operator selected on the basis of an international tender".

"If this is not the case, we will not boycott the elections, but will prevent them outright," he said, without elaborating.

Discontent is simmering in the west African country, where 15 people have been killed as violence has erupted several times during opposition protests calling for transparency in the election.

Among the protesters' grievances was the selection of Waymark to revise the electoral roll, with opponents of President Alpha Conde accusing the company of colluding with the government to rig the election.

Opposition supporters in Guinea are also protesting against a decree that sets June 30 as the date for elections, which have been repeatedly delayed since 2011.

The main opposition parties underlined their suspicions over the transparency of the polls by refusing to submit their lists of candidates by Monday's deadline, a member of Guinea's election commission told AFP.

As a result, the candidates' lists in most constituencies are made up of "parties unknown to most", he said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile party leaders have accused the electoral commission of pricing them out of the vote by charging up to $11 600 for each nomination.

The last legislative elections were held in 2002 under then president Lansana Conte, who ruled the former French colony for 24 years until his death in December 2008, which prompted a disastrous coup marked by extreme police brutality.

The United Nations Security Council said in a statement in April that it was "worried about instability" in Guinea and called for calm in the restive nation.

Read more on:    alpha conde  |  guinea  |  sa  |  west africa

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