CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinean President Alpha Conde said on Saturday he could delay this month’s legislative elections if authorities found technical problems, a possible concession to opposition groups who have demonstrated against alleged flaws in the vote.
More than 50 people have been killed in three months of rallies by activists who accuse Conde of preparing to rig the poll, scheduled for June 30, in the world’s largest bauxite exporter.
Protesters want the elections postponed until their complaints are met.
“For me, the date is the right one but I have informed the CENI (the national electoral commission) that these elections must be completely without technical problems,” Conde told France’s TV5.
“The only thing which could push back the election is if the CENI has not put everything in place, because I do not want elections where there is the slightest technical problem,” he added.
It was the first time Conde had publicly acknowledged there could be a delay. He has dismissed all accusations of fraud.
Political instability following a military coup in December 2008 has deterred some investors, despite the country’s large deposits of iron ore, bauxite, gold and other minerals.
Conde won power in a 2010 election that was marred by violence. The long-time opposition leader promised to turn the page on decades of authoritarian rule in the West African state.
Said Djinnit, a U.N. envoy mediating talks between government and opposition in the coastal capital Conakry, said on Friday the sides had already agreed to some concessions.
“There are indications of progress which may come,” he said. Negotiations were due to restart on Sunday.
The opposition has demanded the replacement of South African company Waymark, charged with updating the voter register. Activists say the electoral roll has been stuffed with the names of Conde’s ethnic Malinke supporters.
The company denies this and the government has said there is not enough time to find a new firm.
The opposition is also calling for Guineans overseas to be allowed to vote.
Reporting by Saliou Samb and Daniel Flynn; Editing by Andrew Heavens