Guinea’s opposition has announced that they are giving the country’s election commission 72 hours to fix the nation’s roll of registered voters, or they will pull out of the elections and start street protests. The opposition charges the just-released voter roll is deeply skewed in favor of the ruling party. The ultimatum, issued by opposition spokesman Aboubacar Sylla, comes just weeks before Guinea is expected to hold a much-delayed parliamentary election on Sept. 24. The poll has been repeatedly rescheduled, as the opposition and the ruling party wrangle over the preparations for the vote. The delays mean that this West African nation has gone years without a functioning legislature. “If in these 72 hours — which expire on Thursday — we don’t get what we asked for, which is the publication of a new electoral list that fixes the various anomalies we have pointed out … we are going to announce a schedule of street protests, and we are going to pull out of the electoral process,” said Sylla by telephone on Tuesday to The Associated Press.
Sylla said that the anomalies and omissions in the voters’ roll are concentrated in areas of the country that are known to be pro-opposition, especially the verdant province known as the Fouta, home to Guinea’s Peul ethnic group. Compared to the list used in the last election in 2010, Sylla says that the number of registered voters in the Fouta has dropped by some 50 percent, while the prefecture known to be the fief of Guinea’s ruling party saw an explosion of registered voters.
Djenabou Toure, the director in charge of the electoral list at the country’s National Independent Electoral Commission, said the accusations are unfounded. “This electoral list is irreproachable,” Toure said. Neither the presidential spokesman nor the government spokesman answered phone calls.