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Guinea schedules presidential elections for October 18

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Guinea’s long-awaited presidential election will take place on October 18, President Alpha Conde announced on national television on Tuesday.

The move comes after the 82-year-old president pushed for a constitutional reform in March that critics say was a tactic to allow him to run for office a third time.

The possibility of a third term has sparked massive protests, and dozens of people were killed in a subsequent crackdown.

Under Guinea’s constitution, presidents can only serve two terms. Conde was elected president in 2010 and again in 2015.

But according to analysts, the new constitution could reset the presidential term counter and potentially allow him to run for a third time.

However, Conde has yet to formally declare whether he will stand for election.

His Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party selected him as their presidential candidate during a convention last week.

Conde told delegates that the RPG must commit to helping women, the youth and the poor before it agrees to stand for election.

In a statement Tuesday, Guinea’s Independent National Electoral Commission confirmed the date of the elections.

Guinean opposition will be furious if Conde presents his name.

Opposition figures were at the forefront of the protest movement against the constitutional referendum in March and attempted to organize a boycott.

The poll was carried out despite protests and the constitution was approved by more than 90 percent of voters, with a turnout of 61 percent, according to official results.

Conde is himself an opposition figure who was imprisoned under previous Guinea regimes.

He became its first democratically elected leader in 2010, but critics say he has taken an increasingly authoritarian turn.

[AFP]

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