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CrisisWatch Guinea

Unchanged Situation

President Condé postponed legislative elections and constitutional referendum until mid-March amid ongoing protests against his alleged intention to run for third term. Condé 4 Feb moved legislative elections scheduled for 16 Feb to 1 March, citing delay in issuing electoral cards, said constitutional referendum that could pave way for him to seek third term later this year would take place same day. Opposition parties Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and Liberal Bloc 5 Feb said they would boycott referendum; National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups which oppose constitutional referendum, same day warned it would “go all the way” to prevent referendum. EU and U.S. 7 Feb expressed concern over electoral process, with EU calling for “inclusive dialogue” to ensure fairness of polls. Following calls by FNDC, protesters gathered 12, 13, 19, 20 and 27 Feb in capital Conakry and other cities. Clashes with security forces left one dead and many wounded in Conakry 13 Feb; European Parliament same day condemned violence against protesters, called on member states to stop funding and providing equipment to security forces. Electoral commission 13 Feb said it had removed over 500,000 voters from updated electoral roll released early Jan that added two million voters, but international criticism and rebuke from opposition continued notably about high number of voters in pro-Condé Kankan region. FNDC 24 Feb called on protesters to use all legal means to prevent “constitutional coup”; international association of French-speaking countries Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie same day withdrew its poll-monitoring mission, citing presence of 2.49 million “problematic” entries on electoral roll. Army chief of staff next day announced military patrols would be deployed throughout country 28 Feb-3 March; Condé 28 Feb postponed both polls by two weeks.

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Briefing / Africa

Guinea’s Other Emergency: Organising Elections

Guinea approaches the second free presidential election in its history under difficult circumstances. Unless the government convenes a serious dialogue with the opposition, it risks electoral violence and exacerbating ethnic divisions.

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