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Guinea opposition says will sit in Assembly despite poll dispute

Source: Reuters - Thu, 12 Dec 2013 11:53 PM
Author: Reuters
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CONAKRY, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Opposition parties in Guinea said on Thursday they would take their seats in the National Assembly, ending a period of uncertainty that began when the supreme court rejected their challenge to September's election results.

President Alpha Conde's party won a Sept. 28 parliamentary election that was seen as a final step in the process of restoring civilian rule after a military coup in 2008. Opposition parties said the vote was flawed.

The West African state is the world's top bauxite exporter and home to some of the largest untapped iron ore reserves but the post-coup transition has been violent, hampering efforts to attract foreign investors.

More than 50 people were killed in pre-election protests.

The supreme court validated the provisional election results in mid-November, at which point opposition parties said they would make a decision whether to participate in the National Assembly. No date has been set for the Assembly's next session.

Opposition leaders said in a statement they made their decision to sit after consultations with their members, civil society groups and the international community.

"We cannot let this regime take the reins of parliament and the entire administration. This would be a fatal error ahead of the 2015 presidential election," said one opposition leader, Mouctar Diallo, of the New Democratic Forces party.

"If we are not in the Assembly we can not even initiate a parliamentary inquiry to demand more transparency from the government," he told Reuters.

The Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and the Union of Republican Forces also said they would participate.

The parties comprise the bulk of Guinea's parliamentary opposition.

The supreme court confirmed the election results that gave Conde's RPG party 53 of 114 parliamentary seats, which is short of an outright majority. Another opposition party said it would not take part in the assembly. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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