Guinea to hold free, fair polls after agreement signing
Guinea is expected to hold free and fair presidential elections after last Thursday’s signing of an agreement between the country’s political actors who had been engaged in inter-Guinea dialogue, the country’s political actors have observed.
The dialogue that began on June 18, 2015, involved both opposition and government political leaders, civil society organizations and representatives of the international community who included the Economic Community of West African States, International Organization of the Francophonie, the UN, European Union, the U.S. and France.
The talks centered on the electoral register, the timetable for communal and local elections, the recomposition of the special delegations in the local regions, restructuring of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), neutrality of the administration, prosecution of perpetrators of killings during protests and release of opposition supporters.
After over two months of dialogue, political actors finally found consensus on most of the issues that had divided the opposition and the government side.
To guarantee the credibility of the ongoing electoral process and reform CENI, participants agreed to form a technical committee comprised of two experts each from the government, opposition and civil society groups. The committee will be led by a team of international experts who will guide the process of preparing the electoral register.
With regards to the communal elections, the participants at the talks agreed that they will be held during the first half of 2016.
At the end of the official signing ceremony, Guinean actors from both sides of the political divide, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, terming it as a historic political step for the country.
Sidya Toure, head of the Union of Republican Forces, the country’s third largest political force, said the opposition had scored a major victory since the 128 urban and rural communes will be reconstituted before September, on the basis of results of previous legislative elections. The opposition will equally get additional two commissioners in the electoral commission.
“Given the urgency to hold the presidential elections on Oct. 11, 2015, it is necessary that we immediately implement the agreement and prepare the electoral register,” Toure said.
Guinea’s Justice Minister Cheick Sacko said the agreement that had been signed was a “historic agreement” because Guinea was “a fragile country that had witnessed a lot of upheavals.”
“The work that was done was for Guinea and for the Guinean population,” Sacko said, adding that “the agreement will help to restore the rule of law.”
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in West Africa Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the international community was relieved after the signing of the agreement by political actors who had been engaged in the dialogue.
He urged the political actors to work hard to place Guinea in the rank of countries that inspire others in the area of holding “inclusive, credible, transparent and peaceful elections.”
The permanent secretary of the ruling party, Rally of the Guinean People, Saramady Toure, said Guinea President Alpha Conde had expressed the government’s firm commitment to execute the recommendations of the dialogue to preserve peace in the country.
Dr. Saliou Bella Diallo, a member of the president’s party, said “the signing of the agreement had greatly improved the image of Guinea’s young democracy.”
He noted that signing of the agreement by both the opposition and the ruling party will most likely promote national unity in Guinea. Enditem