Africa > West Africa > Guinea > Guinea Government Profile

Guinea: Guinea Government Profile

2015/10/04

Alpha Condé-globserver

President of Guinea

Alpha Condé (born 4 March 1938) is a Guinean politician who has been President of Guinea since December 2010. He spent decades in opposition to a succession of regimes in Guinea, unsuccessfully running against President Lansana Conté in the 1993 and 1998 presidential elections and leading the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), an opposition party. Standing again in the 2010 presidential election, Condé was elected as President of Guinea in a second round of voting. At the same time as he took office that December, he became the initial freely elected president in the country's history.

Condé won 19.6% of the vote in Guinea's initial multiparty presidential election, held on 19 December 1993. Lansana Conté, who had been president since a bloodless 1984 coup d'etat, won that election with 51.7% of the vote. Condé's supporters alleged fraud in this election next the Supreme Court nullified results in the Kankan and Siguiri prefectures, where Condé had received additional than 90% of the vote.[4] In the 1998 presidential election, Condé ran again and received 16.6% of the vote, placing third behind Conté (56.1%) and Mamadou Boye Bâ (24.6%). On 16 December, two days next the poll, Condé was arrested and charged with trying to leave the country illegally; he was as well charged with attempting to recruit forces to destabilize the government.

Controversy during his detention focused on whether he could be represented by foreign inclunding domestic lawyers, and whether defense lawyers were being given full access to him in jail. Condé's trial, initially scheduled to begin in September 1999, did not begin until April 2000. Condé, along with 47 co-defendants, were charged with hiring mercenaries, planning to assassinate President Conté, and upsetting the national's security. Defense lawyers began by calling for the judge to instantly release their clients, again quit, saying that under the circumstances they could not properly make a defense. The trial was thus delayed several times, during which time Condé refused to speak in court, and his co-defendants denied all of the charges. The trial finally continued in August, and in mid-September Condé was sentenced to jail for five years.

However, Condé was released in May 2001 at the same time as he was pardoned by President Conté, with the condition that he be prohibited from engaging in political activities. Following his release, he left Guinea for France, returning in July 2005.Upon his return, some reports indicated that he intended to organize the RPG for the municipal elections held in late 2005, but later stated his intention to boycott them.

Following Conté's death and the 23 December 2008 military coup, Condé met with Moussa Dadis Camara, the President of the National Council for Democracy and Improvment(CNDD), on 27 December 2008. Next the conference, Condé said that the members of the CNDD junta were "patriots".Later, however, he opposed the junta[why?] and was criticised by Camara.

 

Guinea - Government

Guinea is a multi-party republic with a semi-authoritarian executive. Guinea's initial constitution took result on 12 November 1958 and was substantially amended in 1963 and 1974. Under the new constitution promulgated in May 1982 (but suspended in the military coup of April 1984), sovereignty was declared to rest with the people and to be exercised by their representatives in the Guinea Democratic Party (PDG), the only legal political party. Party and national were declared to be one and indivisible. The chief of national was the president, elected for a seven-year term by universal adult suffrage (at age 18). A national assembly of 210 members was elected in 1980 from a single national inventory presented by the PDG; the announced term was five years, although the 1982 constitution and its precursors stipulated a term of seven (the assembly was dissolved next four years, in 1984). The constitution gave Assembly members control of the budget and, with the president, the responsibility to initiate and formulate laws.

Under the Touré regime there was no separation of functions or powers. The legislature, the cabinet, and the national government were subordinate to the PDG in the direction and control of the country. The assembly served mainly to ratify the decisions of the PDG's Political Bureau, headed by Touré, who was as well president of the republic and secretary-general of the PDG; the assembly and the cabinet (appointed by Touré) implemented the decisions and orders of the party arrived at by the party congress, national conference, and the Political Bureau. Locally, PDG and government authority were synonymous.

The armed forces leaders who seized power next Touré's death ruled Guinea through the Military Committee for National Recovery (CMRN). Following the adoption by referendum of a new constitution on 21 December 1990, the CMRN was dissolved and a Transitional Committee of National Recovery (CTRN) was set up in February 1991 as the country's legislative body.

In 1993, the government created a 114-member national assembly. The assembly members are elected for a term of four years, 38 members in single-district constituencies, and 76 members by proportional representation. In July 1996, Lansana Conté created the post of prime minister, which instantly is occupied by his confidante, former Supreme Court chief justice, Lamine Sidimé. In December 2002, Conté reshuffled his cabinet.


Guinea - Political parties

From 1945, at the same time as political activity began in Guinea, until about 1953, the political scene was one of loose electoral alliances that relied additional on the support of traditional chiefs and of the French government than on political programs or organized memberships. Next 1953, however, these alliances rapidly lost ground to the Guinea section of the African Democratic Rally (Rassemblement Démocratique Africain—RDA), an interterritorial organization founded in 1946. This section, known as the Guinea Democratic Party (Parti Démocratique de Guinée—PDG), was formed by Marxists determined to develop an organized mass political movement that cut across ethnic differences and had a strongly nationalist outlook. Their leader was Ahmed Sékou Touré, a prominent trade union leader in French West Africa. The alleged great-grandson of the warriorchief Samory who had fought the French in the late 19th century, Touré had much support in areas where Samory had fought his last battles, although his strongest backers were the Susu in Lower Guinea. In 1957, the PDG won 57 of 60 seats in Territorial Assembly elections.

Convinced that the French Community proposed by De Gaulle would not result in real independence for the people of French West Africa, Touré called for a vote against joining the Community in the referendum of 28 September 1958. Some 95% of those voting in Guinea supported Touré in opting for Guinea's complete independence. In December 1958, the opposition parties fused with Touré's PDG, making it the only political party in the country. The precipitous withdrawal of the French bureaucracy in 1958 led, almost of necessity, to the PDG's inheritance of much of the structure of government.

During the 1960s, the PDG's party machinery was organized down to the grassroots level, with local committees replacing tribal authorities, and sectional, regional, and national conferences ensuring coordination and control. In 1968, a new local unit within the PDG, the Local Revolutionary Command (Pouvoir Révolutionnaire Local—PRL) was organized. By 1973, the PRL had assumed complete responsibility for local economic, social, and political affairs. There were 2,441 PRLs in 1981, each directed by a committee of seven members and headed by a mayor. Each of the 35 regions had a party decision-making body called a Federal Congress, headed by a secretary. A 13-member Federal Committee, headed by the regional governor, was the executive body. The 170 districts had similar bodies, called sections, congresses, and committees.

The Political Bureau, nominally responsible to a Central Committee, was the PDG's chief executive body. Until the military coup that abolished the PDG in April 1984, the Political Bureau was the focus of party and national power, and its members were the majority significant government ministers and officials, with Touré as chairman. The PDG and its mass organizations were outlawed next the 1984 coup.

Political parties were legalized in April 1992. Within a month, additional than 30 parties had been formed, a number by government ministers who helped themselves to national funds and used the national agencies to promote their campaigns. The use of government vehicles for partisan activities and the disbursement of national monies to supporters were commonplace.

By July 1992, government had banned all political demonstrations. This hampered opposition parties preparing for National Assembly elections again scheduled for late 1992 and presidential elections scheduled for early 1993. Elections were delayed. By October 1993, 43 political parties were legally registered. At least a dozen were allied with the government Party for Unity and Evolution (PUP) while nearly thirty belonged to a loose coalition, the Democratic Forum, whose objective was to present a common candidate to run against Conté. The Forum dissolved at the same time as two of its members admitted they had by instantly made their campaign deposit, which legally entitled them to enter the race. At that point, the field of candidates widened pitting seven opposition leaders against Conté. In December 1993, despite official protests by the opposition, Lansana Conté officially won 51.7% of the vote. International observers noted isolated incidents of violence and destruction of ballot boxes, and further declared the campaigning and balloting unsatisfactory.

In 1993, the majority significant national opposition parties were the Rally for the Guinean People (RPG), the Union for a New Republic (UNR), and the Party for Renewal and Evolution (PRP). The PRP and the UNR later merged to form the UPR, which presented Mamadou Ba as its candidate in the December 1998 elections. In these elections, Ba took second place with 24.6% of the vote, Alpha Condé (RPG) received 16.9%, Jean-Marie Doré received 1.7% (UPG), and Charles Pascal Tolno (PPG) claimed1.0%. Again, under turmoil from the opposition, Conté won on the initial round with 54.1% officially. The next presidential elections are scheduled for December 2003.

In the National Assembly, 38 seats are elected by single-member district, and 76 are assigned by proportional voting. Elections were last held 30 June 2002 with the PUP taking 61.6%, the UPR 26.6%, and other 11.8%. The number of seats by party was PUP 85, UPR 20, and other 9 with the PUP gaining a two-thirds majority—a significant increase over the 71 seats it held since the June 1995 elections. The opposition denounced the contest as fraudulent. The next legislative elections were scheduled for 2007.

Guinea - Local government

Under the Touré regime, the local units of the PDG, the local revolutionary commands (PRLs), were responsible for the political and economic government of rural areas. In principle, the PRLs regulated all commerce, farming, distribution of land, public works, and communications, inclunding civil life and the people's courts in communities under their authority. Each PRL had a company of militia of 101 members, subdivided into 4 platoons and 12 groups.

In the early 1990s, Guinea embarked upon an ambitious decentralization program. Three hundred three rural development communities (CRDs) were created each comprising several districts (groupings of villages). The 303 CRDs were divided proportionately part the existing 33 prefectures, and four natural regions. In 1994, the number of regions was increased to seven headed by governors appointed by the president. The prefectures are under the tutelage of appointed prefects, who in turn supervise sub-prefects. A sub-prefecture is the location for public services within a CRD.

CRDs and the districts within them represent the majority decentralized political and financial public authority. Elections for CRD councils were last held in 1991, and little investment has made in them. However, through training and other investments, some CRDs have begun collecting hut, market, truck-stop, gravel pit, forestry, and other taxes. They have as well begun to establish local development plans for schools, clinics, and mosques.

On 25 June 2000, the government organized municipal elections, which had been postponed from 29 June 1999 to December 1999, and again to June 2000 reportedly for budgetary reasons. The PUP ruling party claimed victory in 31 of Guinea's 38 communes, the Union for Evolution and Renewal (UPR) won five local councils, the Assembly of Guinean People (RPG) one, and the Fight for Common Cause (LCC)—allied with the PUP— took one. Voter turnout was only 54%, or less than one-third of the adult people.


Guinea - Judicial system

The judicial system is based on French civil law, customary law, and decree; legal codes are under revision, and Guinea has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. In 1958 and 1965, the government introduced some customary law, but retained French law as the basic framework for the court system.

The system is composed of courts of initial instance, two Courts of Appeal (in Kankan and in Conakry) and the Supreme Court. There is as well a National Security Court (Cour de Sûreté de l'Etat), which tried the 1985 coup plotters, and conducted the Alpha Condé trial in 1999/2000. The legality of this court was debated in the February 1996 putsch. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of its validity since it predated the 1990 constitution, and the constitution failed to specifically address its existence. A military tribunal exists to handle criminal cases involving military personnel.

A traditional system of dispute resolution exists at the village and neighborhood level. Cases unresolved at this level may be referred to the courts for further consideration. The traditional system has been found to discriminate against women.

Although the 1990 constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary, magistrates have no tenure and are susceptible to influence by the executive branch. The penal code provides for the presumption of innocence, the equality of citizens before the law, the right to counsel, and the right to appeal a judicial decision. This code is supported by the constitution, which provides for the inviolability of the home, and judicial search warrants are required by law. In reality, police and paramilitary personnel often ignore these legal protections.

In September 1996, the government announced the creation of a discipline council for dealing with civil servants who abuse their positions in the government. In June 1998, a appropriate arbitration court was established to resolve business disputes.

Guinea - Armed forces

The armed forces numbered about 9,700 in 2002, inclunding 8,500 in the army, 400 in the navy, and 800 in the air force. The army had 11 battalions with 38 T-34 and T-54 tanks part its predominantly Soviet-made equipment. The navy had 2 craft, and the air force 8 combat aircraft, inclunding 4 Soviet-made MiG-21 fighters. There was a People's Militia of 7,000 and 2,600 in the gendarmerie and Republican Guard. Opposition forces numbered approximatley 1,800 in the Movement of the Democratic Forces of Guinea. Defense spending in 2001 was $137.6 million or 3.3% of GDP.

Government type: 

Republic

Administrative divisions: 

33 prefectures and 1 special zone (zone special)*; Beyla, Boffa, Boke, Conakry*, Coyah, Dabola, Dalaba, Dinguiraye, Dubreka, Faranah, Forecariah, Fria, Gaoual, Gueckedou, Kankan, Kerouane, Kindia, Kissidougou, Koubia, Koundara, Kouroussa, Labe, Lelouma, Lola, Macenta, Mali, Mamou, Mandiana, Nzerekore, Pita, Siguiri, Telimele, Tougue, Yomou

Independence: 

2 October 1958 (from France)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 2 October (1958)

Constitution: 

23 December 1990 (Loi Fundamentale)

Legal system: 

based on French civil law system, customary law, and decree; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage: 

18 years of age; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18-65, optional for other eligible voters

Legislative branch: 

unicameral People's National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale Populaire (114 seats; members are elected by a mixed system of direct popular vote and proportional party lists) elections: last held 30 June 2002 (legislative elections due in 2007 were first rescheduled for 2008 and subsequently rescheduled for 26 March 2010) election results: percent of vote by party - PUP 61.6%, UPR 26.6%, other 11.8%; seats by party - PUP 85, UPR 20, other 9

Judicial branch: 

Court of First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders : 

Democratic Union of Guinea or UDG [Mamadou SYLLA]; Guinean Union for Democracy or UGD; New Democratic Forces or NDF [Muoctar DIALLO]; Party for Unity and Progress or PUP [Sekou KONATE]; Rally for the Guinean People or RPG [Alpha CONDE]; Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea or UFDG [Cellou Dalein DIALLO]; Union of Republican Forces or UFR [Sidya TOURE]; Union for Progress of Guinea or UPG [Jean-Marie DORE, secretary-general]; Union for Progress and Renewal or UPR [Ousmane BAH]; United Front for Democracy and Change or FUDEC [Francois FALL]

Political pressure groups and leaders: 

National Confederation of Guinean Workers-Labor Union of Guinean Workers or CNTG-USTG Alliance (includes National Confederation of Guinean Workers or CNTG [Rabiatou Sarah DIALLO] and Labor Union of Guinean Workers or USTG [Dr. Ibrahima FOFANA]); Syndicate of Guinean Teachers and Researchers or SLECG [Dr. Louis M'Bemba SOUMAH

International organization participation: 

ACP, AfDB, AU (suspended), ECOWAS (suspended), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description: 

three equal vertical bands of red (hoist side), yellow, and green; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia