The Democratic Transition in Guinea Reaches a Critical Point

30-05-2013

The optimism that Guineans and their international partners felt two and a half years ago, when the country's junta was replaced by an elected president, has largely given way to frustration and confrontation. The organisation of the long-overdue legislative elections has become the central source of disagreement between the government and the opposition, and protests have grown increasingly violent. Despite international mediation, cross-party dialogue is almost non-existent, and the growing tension may derail the transition and even threaten the country's stability. This is particularly dangerous given Guinea's institutional fragility, exacerbated by political turbulence and violent episodes — most notably, the massacre at the national stadium in Conakry on 28 September 2009, when over 150 people were killed. Despite some progress under the new government, the current impasse is undermining the urgently needed security sector reform, the fight against impunity and planned investments in the country’s crucial mining sector.

The optimism that Guineans and their international partners felt two and a half years ago, when the country's junta was replaced by an elected president, has largely given way to frustration and confrontation. The organisation of the long-overdue legislative elections has become the central source of disagreement between the government and the opposition, and protests have grown increasingly violent. Despite international mediation, cross-party dialogue is almost non-existent, and the growing tension may derail the transition and even threaten the country's stability. This is particularly dangerous given Guinea's institutional fragility, exacerbated by political turbulence and violent episodes — most notably, the massacre at the national stadium in Conakry on 28 September 2009, when over 150 people were killed. Despite some progress under the new government, the current impasse is undermining the urgently needed security sector reform, the fight against impunity and planned investments in the country’s crucial mining sector.