Guinea will hold its first local elections in 12 years in February 2017, an opposition spokesperson said on Thursday, following prolonged talks with the ruling party over the timetable for a vote already postponed several times.
Opposition negotiator Aboubacar Sylla said all sides had agreed an election of mayors and local officials “would be held in February 2017” after “long hours and days of debate” in a national dialogue that began September 22.
The last local elections were held in 2005, and have been postponed several times, including because of the Ebola crisis.
Opposition parties were angered when a presidential election was held in 2015, returning President Alpha Conde to power for a second term, but promised local polls were not held.
Sylla added the opposition was still seeking a “truly neutral” national electoral commission as the talks go forward, following allegations of ballot stuffing and massive fraud during a 2013 legislative vote as well as the last presidential election.
Political distrust is high in Guinea, a mineral-rich but deeply poor country where ethnic tensions often turn deadly around election time.