* Opposition accuses government of violating 2013 agreement
* Past protests have led to violence
By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY, June 9 Guinea's main opposition parties
withdrew from parliament on Monday and threatened to hold street
protests over delays in organising local elections promised in a
political deal with the government last year.
Mineral-rich Guinea completed its transition to civilian
rule with parliamentary elections last year but tensions run
deep between the rival camps and protests frequently turn
Although many in the political class have already turned
their attention to 2015 elections in which President Alpha Conde
is expected to seek a second term, local elections were due to
be held early this year, according to the deal signed between
rival parties in 2013.
"We have decided to withdraw from the National Assembly,"
Aboubacar Sylla, a spokesman for the opposition alliance, told
journalists on Monday.
"At the same time, we are organising protests on the main
roads and in public places to denounce the attitude of the
government, which is refusing to stick to the agreements signed
on July 3," Sylla added.
The July 2013 agreement laid out a road map for last year's
parliamentary vote and the local elections. The government has
not given any reason for the delay in holding the vote.
A government spokesman said the opposition's decision was a
surprise as they had recently been in contact with the prime
minister over holding talks.
"We regret that the opposition, which claims to have the
country's best interests at heart, withdraws just as concrete
progress is being made," Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters.
Conde and his allies secured a majority in last year's vote
but the opposition alliance controls 54 seats in the 114-seat
Their absence would mean some laws that require the presence
of two-thirds of parliament for votes cannot be passed.
It would also undermine efforts to deepen democracy in a
country that is rich in minerals but has seen little but
dictatorship and misrule since independence from France.
Underscoring the importance of the parliamentary vote last
year, the European Union released 140 million euros ($192
million) in aid soon after it was held.
No details were given for when demonstrations might start.
Last year's vote was repeatedly delayed and dozens of people
were killed in protests over preparations for the election.
The International Monetary Fund said on Monday that it
expects economic growth to rebound later this year after social
and political tensions saw it slow to 2.3 percent in 2013 and an
outbreak of Ebola virus weighed on the economy in 2014.
Guinea's iron ore mines are home to some of the world's
biggest untapped reserves and have attracted investments from
the world's biggest mining firms, including Rio Tinto
However, political instability in the runup to last year's
election unnerved investors.
(Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov in Washington; Writing
by David Lewis; Editing by Andrew Roche)