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Guinea Politics

State and politics

Since independence in 1964, Guinea has had a fragile democracy with authoritarian leaders. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how GV can stand for Guinea.

Political System of Guinea

GOVERNMENT

Guinea's constitution was drafted in 2010 by the National Transitional Council, which, following the military coup that followed Lasana Conté's death in 2008, served as a legislative body, and was approved by decree by the transitional government's leader, Sékouba Konaté. The executive power belongs to the president, who is elected in general elections for five years and can be re-elected once. The President appoints the Prime Minister and approves his proposal to Ministers. Legislative power comes to a single-chamber parliament with 114 seats, which is elected by universal suffrage. One third of the members are elected in one-man constituencies, the rest from national lists to ensure an even regional representation. Parliament's term of office is five years.

Current policy

Lansana Conté won in the 1993, 1998 and 2003 presidential elections and his Party de l'Unité et du Progrès (PUP) gained a major majority in the 1995 and 2002 parliamentary elections. A divided and repressed opposition and questionable electoral arrangements paved the regime's continued holding of power.

Conté died in December 2008 after a long illness, during which Guinea was increasingly characterized by power struggles and unrest. The day after his death, a group of soldiers seized power and appointed a civilian-led transitional government.

Under pressure from the outside world, and since junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara was shot dead in an assassination attempt, the military junta in 2010 agreed to allow a unifying government to prepare for the return to civilian rule. The 2010 presidential election was colored by severe unrest with ethnic undertones. Alpha Condé was declared a winner, but only after continuing turmoil that claimed the lives of many people, Cellou Dalein Diallo acknowledged defeated.

The parliamentary elections, which really should have been held in 2011, could finally be held in 2013. The contradictions between Condé's party Rassemblement du peuple de Guinée (RPG) and the opposition continued fierce and violent protests with deadly outbreaks erupted both before and after the election. The delayed results showed that the RGP received 53 of 114 seats against 37 for the Diallos Union des forces democratique de Guinée (UFDG) and 10 for the Union des forces republicaines (UFR), led by Sidya Touré. The opposition accused the RPG of electoral fraud and received some support from international election observers, but the election result was approved by the Supreme Court.

Diallo was Condé's toughest opponent even in the 2015 presidential election. The election was preceded earlier this year by government-critical demonstrations that were defeated by force. Violence also erupted during the October election month, which in many cases resulted in a fatal outcome. The election results showed that Condé received 58 percent of the vote against Diallo's 31 percent. The latter dismissed the result and accused the regime of electoral fraud, but the election was approved by international observers, although some practical problems were pointed out.

Judiciary

When Guinea became independent in 1958, it maintained ties with the previously applicable legal system, consisting of both French law and domestic customary law. The Supreme Court is a court of Cassation. The death penalty can be punished for some serious crimes.

Human Rights

In the 2010s, Guinea took its first steps towards democracy since the country's independence in 1958. The transition came on several occasions to be bordered by popular protests that degenerated into violent clashes between the protesters and security forces.

Assault and unprofessional behavior by security forces were often reported in connection with the demonstrations. Civilian deaths occurred. Subsequent stricter rules have led to a reduction in the use of force by the authorities in connection with political demonstrations.

Along with arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, as well as a weak legal system, violence against protesters and oppositionists continues to be one of the country's most serious human rights problems. Despite the government's ambition to hold former perpetrators accountable for abuse, decades of a weakened judicial system have led to extensive impunity.

Media freedom is also imperfect and the government owns and controls virtually all media. In 2013, attacks against press freedom increased, and the negative trend can be noted in Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2015, where the country has collapsed 16 investments since then. There are reports of direct physical attacks, harassment and threats against journalists by state and military officials.

For women and children, the situation is similar to that of many other countries in the region: violence and discrimination against women and girls, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation, occurs. A domestic study estimates that 87 percent of all women are subjected to domestic violence. The survey also estimates that nearly 50 percent of girls and women aged 15-49 have fallen victim to sexual violence by their regular sex partner. Due to social stigma, the abuse is rarely reported.

Heads of State

Presidents

1958-84 Seekou Touré
1984-2008 Lansana Conté
2008-09 Moussa Dadis Camara
2009-10 Sékouba Konaté (tf)
2010- Alpha Condé
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