Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Guinea to Hold Contested Polls Boycotted by Opposition

Guinea to Hold Contested Polls Boycotted by Opposition

CONAKRY - Voters in Guinea will head to the polls on Sunday to elect members of parliament and vote on a proposed constitutional reform against the backdrop of deadly street protests and the coronavirus pandemic.
Opposition groups have called for a boycott of the delayed vote, originally planned for March 1, accusing President Alpha Conde of planning to use the constitutional referendum to extend his stay in office.
Conde has ruled the West African country since 2010; his second and final five-year term will come to an end in December.
Under the country's current constitution, the 82-year-old leader is not allowed to seek a third term.
Opposition leaders argue that Conde, the country's first democratically elected leader, is planning to use the new constitution as a reset button on the current two five-year term limits.
"Alpha Conde is trying to change the constitution to stay in power for life," Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) party and the main opposition leader, told Al Jazeera.
"Many of our people have been killed protesting this decision. It is their constitutional right to protest against his decision," added Diallo, a former prime minister.
A proposed draft for a new constitution does not explicitly state whether Conde would be eligible for the 2020 election but the president has refused to rule out running again.
"It is for the party to decide. For the moment, it is not my concern," Conde told Radio France International.
For the changes to the constitution to be approved, more than 50 percent of the votes cast need to be in favour.
The polls are due to take place even as several countries in the region and across the continent have banned public gatherings to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Guinea has confirmed two cases to date. (Aljazeera)