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Guinea opposition will join delayed polls

30 May 2013, 09:30

Paris - Guinea's main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo on Wednesday told AFP that he would be ready to take part in parliamentary elections if the date would be pushed back several months and the government guarantees a fair vote.

Discontent is simmering in the west African country, triggering violent clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in recent months.

The opposition has accused President Alpha Conde of seeking to rig the elections planned for June 30.

Over the last week alone, at least 12 people have been killed and 89 have been wounded in the stepped-up violence and the government on Tuesday called for an inquiry into the deaths.

"Up until now, demonstrators are being arrested, beaten, tried and convicted, while the criminals who have taken the lives of citizens are being protected," Dalein Diallo, a former Guinean prime minister and head of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), told AFP.

"Our ambition is not to boycott the elections but we want the conditions of a fair election to be met and that there is a dialogue with the government," he said.

The opposition has threatened to prevent the polls taking place unless the date for the vote is delayed and the South African company responsible for managing the electoral roll is replaced for fear it is colluding with the government to fix the vote.

"In October-November it would be possible to organise elections if the government is willing to address the weaknesses that exist in the process, including [management of] the electoral roll," he said.

The poll, postponed several times in the past two years, has become a hot button issue in Guinea as it tries to move on from decades of dictatorship, coups and political violence.

The last legislative elections were held in 2002 under then president Lansana Conte, who ruled the former French colony for 24 years until his death in December 2008, which prompted a disastrous coup marked by extreme police brutality.



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