Guinea: Opposition to protest election date

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — The Guinean opposition on Sunday called for a march to protest President Alpha Conde’s announcement that elections will be held on June 30.

Opposition supporters will hold a peaceful demonstration in the capital, Conakry, on April 18 to protest the date of the elections, said Aboubacar Sylla, spokesman for the Guinean opposition.

“We are determinated to bar the way to any attempt of fraud perpetrated by the government. We will walk to express our dissatisfaction on Thursday to deal with this unilateral decision of the authority to set the date while negotiations are ongoing,” said Sylla.

The presidential decree was read Saturday evening on national television following months of negotiations over the vote.

The West African country has not had a functioning parliament for four years, and it only held its first democratic presidential election in 2010. Disagreements over the electoral process already have spilled over into violent protests.

Originally the vote was scheduled for May 12, but the opposition said it was pulling out because of concerns over election procedures.

Guinea suffered decades of dictatorship and strongman rule before the 2010 vote. Ethnic tensions, however, have risen in the deeply impoverished country since the landmark election.

Guinea’s 10 million people are among the world’s poorest, even though the country has resources of diamonds, gold, iron and half the world’s reserves of the raw material used to make aluminum.

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