LONDON (Reuters) - Guinea could be forced to postpone a long-awaited parliamentary election scheduled for June 30 after opposition parties refused to register candidates, President Alpha Conde said.
The West African country’s legislative election - the first in over a decade - is intended to complete a transition to civilian rule after a military coup in 2008 in the world’s biggest exporter of the aluminum ore bauxite.
But Conde’s opponents accuse him of preparing to rig the election. More than 50 people have been killed during three months of protests.
Conde, speaking to Reuters in London ahead of meetings on the fringes of a G8 gathering, said while there was no technical reason for a delay, the electoral commission could decide on a postponement given the political problems - and specifically the fact that opposition candidates had not registered.
Conde, who came to power in 2010 after half a century in opposition, said the electoral commission “needs to evaluate whether, in this new situation, June 30 works, or whether it needs to be pushed back”.
Conde, 75, said the electoral commission could first ask the Supreme Court to extend the deadline for nominations, but could also ask for the date itself to be pushed back.
He gave no indication as to whether any delay could be a matter of days, weeks or months. Guinea’s rainy season, which peaks in July and August, could make it harder to hold an election given the lack of good roads in one of the world’s poorest countries.
The government and opposition are in United Nations-mediated talks and a new election date may only emerge if the two sides agree. The U.N. envoy said last week there had been a breakthrough in talks.
Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques and Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Janet Lawrence