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Guinea political actors welcome new junta 'charter'

Political actors in Guinea on Tuesday welcomed a decision by the military junta to exclude members of the deposed government from transitional rule in the country.

The junta, which overthrew president Alpha Conde earlier this month, on Monday unveiled its “transitional charter” that it said will help steer the West African country back to civilian rule.

Outlining a series of tasks, including the drafting of a new constitution and holding elections, the charter did not define a time limit to the transitional period.

The transition will be led by four institutions or figures, it said, namely the National Rallying Committee for Development (CNRD) set up by the junta, Col. Mamady Doumbaya who will serve as the committee’s head, a government led by a civilian prime minister, and a legislative body called the National Transition Council (CNT).

Doumbaya will be the president of the transition, while also serving as the chairman of the CNRD, the head of state, and the chief of the armed forces.

Members of Conde’s former government and the institutions of his regime will no longer be allowed to play a role in government, the charter said, effectively eliminating the former ministers and members of parliament from office.

No member of these institutions will also be allowed to take part in either national or local elections, which will be organized at the end of the transition period, according to the charter.

Opposition welcomes exclusion of ex-regime

The Opposition Union of Republican Forces (UFR), a party led by former Prime Minister Sidya Toure, said that despite some reservations on certain issues, they largely welcomed the transition charter.

“There are people who have distinguished themselves in the wrong decision, in the misappropriation of public funds, in economic and other crimes,” said Saikou Yaya Barry, the executive secretary of the UFR. He added that such figures must not be allowed to do any more harm or “participate in the management of a normal transition.”

Barry said that outgoing lawmakers deserved to be excluded from the National Council of the Transition for their role in promoting Conde’s third term.

“If you want to be transparent, clean,” he said, “you would have to get the bad grains out of the system to allow the state to function normally.”

The National Alliance for Democratic Alternation (ANAD), another opposition party, also welcomed the charter, noting that several of its recommendations were taken into account.

“We noted that a strong message was sent to the people of Guinea by the CNRD through the exclusion of the promoters of the third term (former regime). We believe this sends out a strong signal, to avoid similar anti-Republican behavior,” said Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of the ANAD.

No limit on transitional period

The charter, however, indicated that the duration of the transition would be determined by “joint agreement among the living forces of the nation” and the CNRD.

The CNT, comprising 81 members drawn from political parties, civil society, trade unions, employers, the security forces, and other bodies, will have the task of drawing up a new constitution.

For its part, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc has directed the junta to “ensure the conduct of presidential and legislative elections within six months in order to restore constitutional rule.”

The military, led by Doumbouya, deposed President Conde on Sept. 5.

Conde, 83, became Guinea’s first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

But last year, he pushed through constitutional changes that allowed him to run for a controversial third term in October 2020, which he won in an election dismissed as a sham by the opposition.

Mass demonstrations in which dozens of protesters were reported killed erupted after the election.

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