Guinea will hold the first round of a presidential election on Oct. 11, the West African nation’s electoral commission said on Tuesday, a decision opposition parties called unconstitutional. President Alpha Conde is widely seen as the favourite to win a second term in Africa’s largest bauxite exporter, analysts have said, though he has not officially confirmed his candidacy. Etienne Soropogui, deputy direct of operations at the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), said that because of Oct. 11 date, local council elections would be pushed back until next year. Opposition parties said the move breaks an agreement that local council elections would be held before the presidential vote.
“This is provocation. This decision is inappropriate and proves that the election commission is under the orders of Alpha Conde. We no longer recognise this election commission,” said Mouctar Diallo, a leader of Guinea’s opposition coalition.
Presidential and legislative elections since 2010, when Guinea emerged from decades of autocratic military rule, have been marred by months of violent protests, with opposition and ruling parties divided along ethnic lines.