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Guinea proposes date for delayed elections

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:39 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details, EU aid, background)

CONAKRY, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Election authorities in Guinea have proposed May 12 next year as the date for holding a long-delayed legislative poll, the head of the west African nation's elections commission told state television.

Parliamentary elections, which will complete the mineral-rich west African nation's transition to civilian rule after a 2008 coup and unblock international aid, has been repeatedly delayed by disputes between rival political camps.

The European Union, one of Guinea's major donors, warned in November that it needed a credible and detailed timeline for the election to unblock about 174 million euros (${esc.dollar}226.18 million).

The political stalemate has also stoked deadly tensions in the country and could delay investments in the mining sector as firms wait for clarity on the composition of the parliament that will sign off on deals.

"The (elections commission) has decided to propose to the president of the republic the date of May 12 for the organisation of legislative elections," commission head Bakary Fofana said.

Under Guinean law, President Alpha Conde must now accept or reject the proposed date.

Opposition leaders on Wednesday accused Fofana of taking the decision unilaterally.

"None of our representatives on the (elections commission) were consulted before this announcement," opposition member Sidya Toure told Reuters.

Conde appointed Fofana to head the new 25-member electoral body in October as part of a compromise with the opposition, who complained the previous commission was favourable to the ruling party.

In a sign of growing tension in the country, at least three people died and 106 were injured in clashes that broke out late on Monday in southern Guinea between opposition militants and government supporters, witnesses said. (${esc.dollar}1 = 0.7693 euros) (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alison Williams and Louise Heavens)

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