Guinea swears in new electoral commission
CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea has sworn in a new electoral commission after an initial boycott by the opposition, which claimed the government had tampered with its list of nominees, state television announced on Thursday.
A political stalemate in the world's top bauxite producer has since last year stalled legislative polls needed to complete a shift to civilian rule after a 2008 coup and unblock international aid.
President Alpha Conde named a new 25-member electoral body on Monday as part of a compromise after the opposition complained the previous commission was favourable to the ruling party. Opposition members immediately rejected the new structure, however, claiming one of their nominees had been replaced without their agreement.
"The finalisation of the transition is a major challenge that we must all overcome," said the commission's new president Bakary Fofana, a former foreign minister under a 2008-2010 transitional administration.
Under the compromise deal, which was agreed in the wake of a series of violent protests, the commission includes 10 members from the ruling coalition, 10 from the opposition, and five from civil society, public service and administration.
Parliamentary polls were initially meant to be held in 2011, following Conde's election in late 2010.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid were frozen after a military junta seized power followed the death of longtime ruler Lansana Conte in 2008.
The European Union has said Guinea must hold elections by the end of the year to release the funding, but Western diplomats say polls will not be possible until April 2013 at the earliest.