Guinea will hold its long-delayed legislative election on June 30 to complete the West African nation’s transition to democracy, a decree signed by President Alpha Conde and read on state television said on Saturday. The election was initially planned for 2011 but as been postponed repeatedly over disagreement between the government and Guinea’s opposition coalition on organisation of the poll. The vote is meant to complete a transition to civilian rule after a 2008 military coup and could unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in European aid. “Voters are called to the polls on June 30 for the legislative elections,” the decree said. Conde’s decision could, however, put the government on a collision course with the opposition, which has vowed to disrupt the polls if its demands are not met. The opposition, which accuses Conde of trying to rig the vote, wants South African firm Waymark stripped of a contract to revise the voter list and demands that the mostly pro-opposition diaspora be allowed to vote.
Nine people were killed and more than 300 were wounded during two weeks of clashes in late February and early March between security forces and opposition protesters, calling for the government to accept their demands. The government says there is not enough time to bring in a new firm to manage the voter roll and that Waymark’s system is secure against fraud. “All our partners are convinced that Waymark can do the job. So anyway, Waymark is not leaving,” government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said on Saturday before the president’s decision. Waymark has not commented on the dispute. The opposition warned earlier on Saturday that any unilateral decision by the government could push them back to the streets.