Guinea to hold first local elections since 2005 in February
Guinea will hold its first local elections since 2005 on February 4 next year, the country's electoral commission said on Monday, tentatively ending years of delays denounced by the opposition.
"We have suggested the elections be held on February 4, 2018... the president will make a decree validating our proposal," said Salifou Kebe, the president of the electoral commission known by the French acronym CENI.
Local elections should have been held in February under an agreement reached in October 2016 between the government, opposition, civil society and international partners in Guinea.
But since then, despite opposition demonstrations demanding President Alpha Conde respect the agreement, the election timetable has repeatedly slipped.
Opposition parties were angered when Conde was returned to power in 2015 but promised local polls did not go ahead.
Conde became Guinea's first democratically elected president in 2010, taking over a nation run by a succession of strongmen following independence from France.
Political distrust is high in Guinea, a mineral-rich but deeply poor country where ethnic tensions often turn deadly around election time.