Guinea’s Long-Delayed Elections Set to Take Place September 28September 25, 2013 in Guinea
Guinea’s long-delayed legislative elections, which were scheduled to occur on Tuesday, have been postponed by four days to September 28 after talks were held on Saturday in Conakry between the opposition and the government. The talks over the weekend come after Guinea’s main opposition leader threatened to call protests if officials went forwards with the elections without fully addressing the complaints pertaining to preparations. The opposition has complained that the voter list contains a number of errors, effectively meaning that many of its supporters have been left off the list while some people have been registered several times. It has also complained that polling stations in oppositions strongholds have been scattered far apart, meaning that voters would have to travel far and therefore would be less likely to vote. Following Saturday’s talks, Cellou Dalein Diallo, the main opposition leader, has stated that although he wants a longer delay in order to fix the issues, he is satisfied with the compromised date of September 28.
The elections are meant to complete the country’s transition back to civilian rule however they have been repeatedly delayed since current President Alpha Conde was elected three years ago. These delays have effectively created doubts about the political progress not only amongst Guineans, but investors and donor. The West African nation’s economic growth forecast has been cut to 2.9 percent for this year, down from 4.5 percent. This is a result of the protests and ongoing political issues.
Over the past several months, dozens of people have been killed in protests over the election preparations. Furthermore, while this delay will allow organizers to address some of the issues, it is likely that the fundamental lack of trust between between the two sides and the election commission will continue, meaning that tensions are likely to simmer.