CONAKRY (Reuters) - A repeatedly delayed parliamentary election meant to seal Guinea’s transition to civilian rule will have to be postponed again after the government and opposition failed to agree on how to run the vote, a spokesman for the elections commission said.
The election in the West African nation, the world’s biggest exporter of the aluminum ore bauxite, had been scheduled for June 30. But opponents of President Alpha Conde accuse him of preparing to rig the election.
More than 50 people have been killed during three months of protests by opposition activists, who say the electoral roll is stuffed with names of Conde’s ethnic Malinke supporters.
“It goes without saying that the June 30 date is no longer tenable,” Alpha Yero Conde, the communications director for the elections body, known as the CENI, said on Monday.
“The June 30 date cannot be revoked without fixing a new date. The CENI is currently working to come up with a new timetable,” said Conde, who is not related to the president.
The president said over the weekend that, while the polls were technically feasible on the announced date, a delay might be necessary due to the fact that opposition politicians had not registered as candidates.
The government and opposition are in U.N.-mediated talks and a new election date may only emerge if the two sides agree. The U.N. envoy Saïd Djinnit said this month there had been a breakthrough in talks.
A CENI document signed by the commission’s president and seen by Reuters proposed the polls be held on July 28, however spokesman Conde said the United Nations was still seeking the agreement of opposition leaders for the new date.
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.
Reporting by Saliou Samb; Editing by Joe Bavier and Alison Williams