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Guinea sets long-delayed legislative polls for June 30

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Guinea will hold its first legislative elections in more than a decade on June 30, according to a presidential decree, after repeated delays sparked deadly protests in the west African nation.

The elections should have taken place six months after Alpha Conde became president in December 2010 in what was considered Guinea's first democratic vote.

However the polls were repeatedly postponed amid opposition claims they would not be free and transparent.

The most recent date of May 12 was abandoned after violent opposition protests broke out in late February leaving nine dead and more than 240 injured.

"Voters are summoned on June 30 for legislative elections," said the decree signed by Conde, which was read on national television late Saturday.

The last legislative polls were held in 2002 under strongman Lansana Conte, who died in 2008 after 24 years in power.

The opposition and its main leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, the runner-up in the 2010 poll, have denounced the "dictatorial" nature of Conde's regime which it accuses of planning to steal the June polls.

The opposition has in particular denounced the choice of South African company WayMark to revise electoral lists.

On Sunday, it called on Guineans to hold peaceful protests throughout the country as of Thursday, saying the government's decision was "unilateral" and a "denial of democracy".

Government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara said the national election commission CENI would be solely responsible for organising the polls, and that it was ready for a "free, independent and secure" election.

"Government has no intention of meddling in CENI's affairs," he said.

Camara added that the government had asked for "support" from the United Nations for the organisation of the elections and to facilitate dialogue with the opposition.

"The UN responded favourably to this request and has named its representative in west Africa, Said Djinnit, to facilitate this dialogue."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130414/guinea-sets-long-delayed-legislative-polls-june-30-0