President Alpha Condé’s unwillingness to give up power set the stage for a military takeover on 5 September. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Vincent Foucher and Rinaldo Depagne show how this latest coup d’état is part of a worrying trend in West Africa.
Opposition coalition put demonstrations on hold, but political tensions persisted as transitional authorities launched consultations on constitutional reform.
Opposition suspended demonstrations, court acquitted key opposition leaders. Large opposition and civil society coalition Forces Vives de Guinée (FVG) 31 May put demonstrations on hold for June, citing preparations for Eid al-Adha celebrations. Dixinn court 13 June cleared three leaders of civil society platform National Front for the Defence of the Constitution – including Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué – of all charges levelled against them in mid-2022, including participating in an illegal gathering; public prosecutor immediately appealed acquittal, which was one of FVG’s main preconditions to resume negotiations with govt.
Transitional authorities moved forward with constitutional reform initiative. Transitional legislature 15 May-2 June organised constitutional consultations, calling upon institutions and political entities to discuss guiding principles of future constitution and present recommendations; armed forces suggested limiting number of political parties to three, while FVG boycotted initiative.
Tensions with ECOWAS remained latent. Transitional authorities postponed talks on conduct of transition scheduled for 18-21 June with West African regional bloc (ECOWAS) mediator for Guinea, former Beninese President Thomas Boni Yayi, citing higher agenda priorities. African Union Chairperson Azali Assoumani 23-25 June visited Guinea, met with transitional president, Lt. Col. Doumbouya; leaders likely discussed tensions between Conakry and ECOWAS on conduct of transition.
Guinea approaches the second free presidential election in its history under difficult circumstances. Unless the government convenes a serious dialogue with the opposition, it risks electoral violence and exacerbating ethnic divisions.
Vincent Foucher, Crisis Group’s West Africa Senior Analyst, draws attention to the complex and problematic electoral process in Guinea, now faced with the additional threat of the Ebola epidemic, causing tensions between the government and the opposition party in agreeing a date for upcoming elections.
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