1993 Presidential Election
|Candidate (Party)||% of votes|
|Lansana Conté (Party of Unity and Progress)||51,70%|
|Alpha Condé (Rally of Guinean People)||19,55%|
|Mamadou Ba (Union for the New Republic)||13,37%|
|Siradiou Diallo (Party of Renewal and Progress)||11,86%|
|Ismail Ghussein (Democratic party of Guinea - African Democratic Rally)||3,52%|
|Jean Marie Dor é (Union for Progress of Guinea)|
|Masour Kaba (Dyama Party)|
1998 Presidential Election
|Candidate (Party)||% of votes|
|Lansana Conté (PUP)||56,10%|
|Mamadou Ba (UPR)||24,60%|
|Alpha Condé (RPG)||16,60%|
|Jean Marie Doré (UPG)||1,70%|
|Charles-Pascal Tolno (PPG)||1,00%|
2003 Presidential Election*
|Candidate (Party)||% of votes|
|Lansana Conté (PUP)||95,25%|
|Mamadou Bhoye Barry (Union for National Progress)||4,75%|
* Most opposition parties boycotted the election.
Situated in the unstable West African region, Guinea is bordered by Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Côte d‘Ivoire. With recent spurts of violence, particularly the brutal massacre of unarmed protesters in the capital Conakry during a rally in September 2009, killing at least 150, Guinea remains a troubled and impoverished nation plagued by a history of political instability and military coups. The upcoming Presidential election is earmarked, not only by the international community, but also by the Guinean population, as the point at which political power will be transferred to civilian rule after Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in a coup in 2008, following the death of longtime President Lansana Conté.
The future of democracy in Guinea relies heavily on the June 27 election, as doubts remain over whether the current interim President, Sekouba Konaté, will relinquish power democratically despite assurances from Prime Minister Jean Marie Doré that he will do so. After the perennial postponement of the poll, there is a groundswell of expectation from the international community and the Guinean people that the elections will go ahead.
Colonial History and Independence
Similar to that of its neighbouring States, Guinea's colonial past is dominated by French occupation thus transposing French culture, language and customs onto the Guinean indigenous tribal system.
Following a 1958 plebiscite that overwhelmingly rejected membership of the French community, the colonisers withdrew from the West African country. Subsequently, Guinea declared itself a sovereign republic with full independence. Sékou Touré was proclaimed the first Guinean President on October 2, 1958.
Guinea, under the rule of Touré, was characterised by a single party dictatorship that demonstrated little regard for human rights, with frequent crackdowns on political opposition, repression of the media and curtailing free speech. The regime's brutal suppression drove over one-million Guinean citizens into exile in neighbouring countries, resulting in adverse relations with countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia. The increasing isolation of Guinea meant that the country's economy suffered, causing widespread impoverishment and devastation.
The Second Republic
Following the death of Touré in 1984, a military junta known as the Military Committee for National Recovery (CMRN) headed by Lansana Conté, seized power and almost immediately abolished the Constitution, as well as many existing political institutions and civil society organisations. The "Second Republic", as Conté called it, ruled mainly by Presidential decree and set about transforming Touré's oppressive regime by prescribing human rights, releasing political prisoners, reorganising the judicial system and separating administrative power. Further, the CMRN advocated the privatisation of the economy and sought to attract foreign investment and free enterprise.
The CMRN made provision for the country's first multiparty Presidential election, which took place in 1993. The process was, however, widely criticised for a high number of irregularities and vote rigging by the government. The election saw Conté win 51,70% of the vote, thus securing a majority.
In February 1996, thousands of discontented troops mutinied in Conakry by destroying infrastructure and killing dozens of citizens. After the unsuccessful attempt to convert the rebellion into a coup, the government cracked down on the soldiers, arresting 98, who were put on trial in 1998. A number of these soldiers were eventually executed. What followed was a policy shift by President Conté, who proceeded to centralise power, particularly in the portfolio of financial and economic planning. These changes, however, lead to an increase in corruption and cronyism, which, in turn, adversely affected an already ailing Guinean economy.
In a flawed 1998 election, Conté was re-elected President for another five-year term with 56,70% of the vote.
The Revolutionary United Front and Charles Taylor
Instigated from Sierra Leone and Liberia, Liberian President Charles Taylor's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) launched a series of raids and large-scale attacks on Guinea. Liberia and Guinea accused each other of supporting rebel movements within their respective States. The conflict led to thousands of deaths, as well as the displacement of tens of thousands, causing a massive refugee crisis in the region. Further, the brutal tactics of both sides meant that some 200 000 existing refugees settling in Guinea had to be relocated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. As a result of the RUF attacks, Legislative elections were postponed in 2000.
In November 2001, a referendum was conducted that allowed the government to amend the Constitution, which permitted the President to run for an unlimited number of terms and to extend Presidential terms from five years to seven years. The amendment meant that Conté won a third term in the 2003 Presidential election that was largely boycotted by the opposition in response to the amendment.
Strike and State of Siege
The country's labour movement launched a series of violent strikes in late 2006 and 2007. Despite the strikes initially calling for greater economic benefits, the movement warped into political action with demands that Conté resign from office. Once the strike spread nationwide, Guinean security forces opened fire into a crowd of citizens marching peacefully who were calling for change.
In 2007, the government entered into an agreement with the unions to suspend the strikes, as well as to establish a position of a consensus Prime Minister with delegated executive powers. President Conté subsequently appointed longtime friend Eugène Camara to the post, thus sparking renewed protest and violence. Conté responded by initiating a "state of siege", which gave the military broad powers. The move meant that a strict curfew was implemented, under which serious human rights abuses were allegedly committed.
Moussa Dadis Camara
With growing unrest in the country and discontent with the slow pace of economic reforms, Moussa Dadis Camara was able to seize power through a military coup after the death of Conté in 2008. Camara declared himself President and proceeded to suspend the Constitution for an indefinite period. Camara did, however, promise a return to civilian rule through democratic elections. Further, Camara made it clear that he intended to run for President in these elections.
In response, the opposition organised a protest to Camara's decision on September 28, 2009, which saw tens of thousands of opposition supporters and civilians assemble in the Conakry national stadium. In counter response, the Guinean military opened fire onto the large crowd, killing 157 and injuring over 1 000. Further, the military sexually assaulted more than 100 women. The stadium massacre attracted a great deal of condemnation from the opposition, as well as from the international community.
A failed assassination attempt in December 2009, saw Camara wounded and requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation in Morocco. Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, General Sékouba Konaté occupied the post of interim President of the country.
The Ouagadougou Accords
An Economic Community of West Africa States (Ecowas) mediation led by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré, oversaw the signing of the Ougadougou accords in January 2010. The agreement reached between Camara and Konaté meant that Camara would remain outside the country to recuperate, and, in addition, would officially appoint Konaté interim President until the upcoming election.
Technically, Camara remains Head of State, while Konaté runs affairs as interim President. The country's Constitution is currently suspended, however, Konaté has signalled his intention of returning the country to civilian rule through the upcoming elections. Konaté has appointed opposition leader Jean-Marie Doré as Prime Minister. The interim Prime Minister is entrusted with carrying out the operations of the Affairs of State in the absence of the President.
Political System since Independence
|1958 - 1984||One Party State|
|1984 - 1990||Military Regime|
|1990 - 1993||Multiparty Transition|
|1993 -||Restricted Democratic Practice|
The Guinean President is elected for a seven-year term and the Prime Minister is appointed by the President.
Following the recent assassination attempt on Camara and the Conakry stadium massacre, Guinean politics is on a knife edge. With a history of military coups and fraudulent elections, the stability of the West African country rests purely on the promises made by the interim President Konaté that power will be transferred to civilian rule. The fragility of the country's political situation therefore, rests heavily on the success of the election. The ultimate test will be whether the CNDCC allows free and fair elections to occur.
Ecowas has committed 200 observers to monitor the process and it will be closely scrutinised by the international community. A free and fair election process that instils a credible civilian government will be the first step to providing a platform for the country to take advantage of its vast mineral wealth. Guinea is endowed with close to one-half of the world's bauxite reserves, accompanied by a wealth of high-grade iron-ore, as well as diamond and gold deposits. To take advantage of these resources, however, Guinea needs to develop its infrastructure and stabilise its political system, thereby encouraging foreign investment. Ensuring a credible election process will go a long way to providing the platform for this to occur.
Afrol News. Condé favourite to win Guinea election. (June 10, 2010).
Global Security. Guinea Conflict. (June 14, 2010).
UN News. Guinea: Country's transitional authorities assure UN that June vote will be held on schedule. (June 10, 2010).
African Elections Database. Elections in Guinea. (June 9, 2010).
US Department of State. Background Note: Guinea. (June 9, 2010).
IFES. Election Guide: Guinea. (June 10, 2010).