West African bloc ECOWAS says Guinea should hold elections by mid-March.
Guinea’s transitional assembly has held its first session, five months after the military overthrow of democratically elected President Alpha Conde.
The body, known by its French acronym CNT and tasked with organizing a return to civilian rule, met for an inaugural session in the capital, Conakry, on Saturday.
In a reference to Conde, who had sparked fury by changing the constitution in order to run for a third term, CNT President Dansa Kourouma said in the opening remarks that “the mechanisms that bring elites to power and allow them to remain in power almost indefinitely must be definitively resolved ”.
He called for a constitution to be drawn up “that will not be easily modified”.
“Our path will be strewn with all sorts of pitfalls that we are called upon to overcome from now on, until the installation of the future National Assembly, at the end of credible and transparent elections that will be organized to put an end to the transition , ”Kourouma added.
Conde, who was Guinea’s first democratically elected president and had been in power since 2010, was deposed on September 5.
Transitional Prime Minister Mohamed Beavogui, a development expert, took part in the session, which lasted several hours.
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who led the coup and was sworn in as interim presidenthas promised to “refound the state”, fight corruption and reform the electoral system in order to hold “free, credible and transparent” elections.
CNT members were chosen by Doumbouya from lists submitted by political parties and associations. The body is tasked with drafting a new constitution and suggesting a date for a return to civilian rule.
In the meantime, the government and other institutions have been dissolved and ministers, governors and prefects replaced by administrators and soldiers.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demanded that Guinea hold elections within six months of the coup, which would fall in mid-March.
Guinea is one of three West African countries, along with Mali and Burkina Faso, where the military seized power in the last 18 months.
The 15-member bloc has suspended Guinea and neighboring Mali and imposed sanctions over the coups.
In a mark of defiance, the president of the transitional council of Mali and former military government member Colonel Malick Diaw attended Saturday’s inaugural session of Guinea’s assembly.
“With the political transition under way in Mali and Guinea our two countries are at a crossroads,” Diaw said, adding that the end goal was “political normalization”.
Conde’s victory in 2010 put an end to decades of authoritarian rule by the country’s two first presidents, Sekou Toure and Lansana Conte, who were in office for 26 and 24 years respectively.
He was re-elected for a second term in 2015 but became increasingly disliked when he pushed through a constitutional referendum, backed by Russia, that allowed him to seek a controversial third term in October 2020 polls, which he won.