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Guinea announces three-year transition to civilian rule

Guinea's legislative body on Wednesday announced there would be a three-year transition period before the civilian rule is restored, defying regional partners who have called for a swifter timetable following a coup.

President of the National Committee for Rally and Development (CNRD) Colonel Mamady Doumbouya (C) leaves a meeting with high level representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Conakry on September 17, 2021. – Colonel Mamady Doumbouya’s special forces on September 5, 2021 seized Alpha Conde in a Coup, the West African state’s 83-year-old president, a former champion of democracy accused of taking the path of authoritarianism. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP)

Guinea’s legislative body on Wednesday announced there would be a three-year transition period before the civilian rule is restored, defying regional partners who have called for a swifter timetable following a coup.

The 36-month transition, decided at a legislative plenary meeting on Wednesday, is slightly shorter than the 39 months which military junta leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya had announced.

The timetable presented by the National Rallying Committee for Development (CNRD), set up by the junta and headed by Doumbouya, was “debated, approved and adopted” by the National Transition Council (CNT) legislative body.

Last September, army officers led by Colonel Doumbouya ousted elected president Alpha Conde in the impoverished former French colony.

Conde, 84, had drawn fierce opposition after he pushed through a new constitution in 2020 that allowed him to run for a third presidential term.

Following the coup, the West African bloc ECOWAS suspended Guinea from its ranks, imposed sanctions and called for a return to civilian rule within six months.

Although many Guineans initially welcomed the coup, there is growing discontent against the junta in the nation of 13 million people.

CNT spokesperson Paul Kotembedouno told AFP that a 36-month transition period would be “sufficient” in order to prepare the country for a return to constitutional order.

Out of the 81 CNT members, 73 voted for the text on Wednesday.

One CNT member was absent, three abstained and four left the chamber in protest.

The RPG party of Guinea’s ousted leader Conde met Wednesday with opposition groups and said the CNT did not have the authority to set the transition timetable.

The transition charter “provides that the duration of the transition is determined by mutual agreement between the CNRD and the country’s active players. The CNT is in no way mentioned as the body to validate this agreement,” the coalition of parties said in a statement issued before the announcement of the 36-month period.

They called for “the establishment of a real framework for dialogue,” including with ECOWAS “to decide on a consensual basis on the conditions for a return to constitutional order”.

It is the first time in years that Conde’s party and his opposition during his rule have come together to speak with one voice.

UN chief Antonio Guterres this month called for the military juntas in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali to hand power back to civilians as soon as possible.

Mali and Burkina Faso are two other countries in the region which have seen the military take power. They too have been suspended by ECOWAS.