Guinea. Almost all politics during the year revolved around the question of whether the parliamentary elections would be eliminated. According to the constitution, it would have been held as early as 2011. Tensions between President Alpha Condé’s government and the opposition continued to be strong. There was considerable disagreement over whether a South African company, Waymark, would be allowed to retain the mandate to revise voting lengths, and whether Guinean residents living abroad would be allowed to vote. On the part of the opposition there was a deep suspicion that the government side would try to impose a rolling victory through cheating. According to Countryaah, there was still a great deal of bitterness over Cellou Dalein Diallo’s meager loss in the second round of the 2010 presidential election, given the suspicions of irregularities that existed then. At the beginning of the year, the Election Commission announced elections for May 12, but without consulting the opposition.
Opposition parties, including Dalein Diallo’s UFDG (Union of Guinea’s Democratic Forces) and Sidya Tourés UFR (Republican Forces Union), decided in late February that they would boycott the election. Their supporters gathered on the streets of the capital Conakry to demand free elections, several of the demonstrations led to clashes between activists and police. This was followed by new violence between people from the Fulani and Malinke groups, of which the former strongly supports the opposition and the latter government. At least six people were killed and hundreds injured.
The unrest was described in many media as a conflict between different ethnic groups, but several observers pointed out that the situation was more complicated than that and that, for example, it is still common for Guineans to marry across national borders. Dissatisfaction with deep poverty and growing social gaps fueled the violence.
Despite talks between the government and the opposition, new unrest broke out in April and May, with new deaths as a result. From March to the end of May, at least fifty people were killed. The president moved the election to June 30, but neither did it then. On July 3, however, the government and the opposition agreed on a new election day, September 24. The government had then agreed that even Guineans living outside the country would be allowed to vote.
In mid-July, southern Guinea was shaken by new ethnic riots, which claimed hundreds of lives.
Even the weeks before the election were worrying. But the election was held, albeit four days later than planned. 1,700 candidates competed for the 114 seats in the National Assembly. Election day was calm and turnout was relatively high, 64% according to official figures. Opposition parties claimed that cheating was taking place and had some support from international observers.
The election results were delayed, but when it came, Condés RPG (Guinean People’s Party) had 53 seats, while Dalein Diallo’s UFDG won 37 seats and Tourés UFR 10 seats. The other mandates went to twelve smaller parties, seven of whom were said to have close ties to the government.
The opposition appealed to the Supreme Court in October to have the election annulled. However, the court went on the government’s line and approved the election results in mid-November, which led to new protests.