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Guinea sets date for first democratic vote 0

Guinea set June 27 as the date for its first democratic election since independence in 1958 under a plan to put an end to military rule in the resource-rich west African nation.

“The transition president, interim president of the republic, sets the date of the first round of the presidential election for June 27,” said a decree signed by the country’s current leader General Sekouba Konate.

The main electoral commission proposed the date last month and said a second round should be held on July 18 if no candidate gets an absolute majority.

The commission also proposed that the campaign run from May 17 to June 26.

Military rule was imposed on the resource-rich West African nation within hours of the death of long-time ruler general Lansana Conte in 2008.

A crackdown by the army against a rally in September last year killed 156 protesters, with troops shooting, stabbing and raping opposition supporters.

Guinea’s Junta Chief Moussa Dadis Camara, who led the coup, is being treated in Burkina Faso after a trusted lieutenant tried to kill him in December.

Sunday’s decree said the country’s interim leader was “asking the prime minister Jean-Marie Dore, the National Transition Council president Rabiatou Serah Diallo and the president of the CENI, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Ben Sekou Sylla to take all necessary steps ” to prepare the vote.

Dore heads a government of national union made up of civilians and soldiers who was formed on February 15, four months after the bloody repression of the opposition rally in Conakry.

The military regime created the National Transition Council in August to prepare for the elections, as demanded by political parties, unions and civic organisations.

The date for a run-off second round and the period during which the election campaign would be held were not mentioned in Sunday’s decree.

The presidential election would put an end to the transition period that began on January 15 after the country’s political rivals agreed in Burkina Faso to set up the interim government and hold elections in six months.

Another decree published on Sunday added 54 new members to the National Transition Council, which now has 155.

Among the new members are magistrates, lawyers, journalists working for the state media, pharmacists and disabled people.

The West African country has long known military rule, in the shape first of Conte, who seized power in a coup in 1984, and then a regime headed by Camara, who came to power within hours of Conte’s death in December 2008.

Camara was shot in the head and seriously wounded by his aide de camp on December 3 and has been out of office ever since. Konate helped open the way to the transitional government.

An overwhelming majority of the Guinean population lives in poverty despite the country’s rich mineral wealth from bauxite, iron and gold.

By Africa The Good News

Picture by Reuters

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