Conakry - Guinean opposition parties have agreed to postpone
national protests against what they say are flawed preparations for legislative
elections, following the death of the country's army chief and 10 others in a
The government declared three days of national mourning
after the crash near the Liberian capital Monrovia on Monday which killed
General Souleymane Kelefa Diallo, a close ally of President Alpha Conde.
Sidya Toure, an opposition leader, said the protests and a
national strike, which were planned for Wednesday, would be delayed until 18 February to respect the mourning period.
It is the second time the protests have been postponed. They
were initially scheduled for 7 February, but were banned by authorities because
they coincided with a visit by Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer body
The long-delayed election is intended to be the last stage
in the mineral-rich West African nation's transition to civilian rule after a
military coup in 2008.
But opposition parties are seeking to protest about the two
firms chosen by the government to update the country's voter roll. They say the
firms are skewing the list to favour Conde and want them to be replaced.
Violent political bickering
Conde was elected in 2010 in the first free vote after 50
years of one-man rule. The army had seized power in 2008 after the death of
veteran leader Lansana Conte and Guinea endured two years of often violent
The parliamentary poll was due in 2011 but has already been
delayed four times by sometimes violent political bickering.
Opposition parties have rejected a proposed May 12 date for
The European Union, one of Guinea's major donors, warned in
November that it needed a credible and detailed timeline for the election to
unblock about €174m.
The political deadlock and violence has also contributed to
doubts among investors, who are keen to tap into the country's vast iron ore,
bauxite and gold reserves.