Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Guinea election put on hold: UN

A UN special envoy has revealed legislative elections in Guinea will be delayed

Long-awaited and hotly contested legislative elections in Guinea will be delayed by several days after the opposition threatened to boycott over concerns about the voter list and other issues, a UN special envoy has said.

The announcement about the September 28 poll came after more than 24 hours of negotiations between the ruling party and opposition that were brokered by UN special envoy Said Djinnit.

"We are convinced that with this agreement, nothing more can prevent the holding of free, transparent and inclusive elections on Saturday, September 28 in Guinea and abroad," said the statement.

The vote had been scheduled for Tuesday, but the opposition expressed concerns about whether various problems concerning the voting list and voter stations could be resolved in time. The opposition had alleged irregularities and omissions on electoral lists in its strongholds.

The announcement marks a compromise as the opposition had been seeking to postpone the vote by a month.

In 2010, Guinea held its first democratic election ever after decades of dictatorship and strongman rule.

The vote, though, unleashed tensions between the country's two largest ethnic groups - the Peul, whose candidate lost, and the Malinke, whose candidate is now president.

Guinea's last legislative vote took place more than a decade ago, and new polls were first slated to be held in 2007.

However, repeated delays have left the country without a functioning legislature and issues surrounding the vote have fueled violent protests.

The country is home to the world's largest reserves of bauxite, the raw ingredient used to make aluminium, yet remains one of the poorest nations in the world after decades of misrule.

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