/ 16 January 2014

Guinea government resigns

Guinea's former prime minister Mohamed Said Fofana.
Guinea's former prime minister Mohamed Said Fofana.

Guinea's prime minister stepped down and handed in the resignation of his Cabinet on Wednesday as part of a transition to a new government after elections, a statement from the office of President Alpha Conde said on Thursday.

Guineans were expecting the move after Conde referred to the formation of a new government in his New Year speech.

"I have just presented the resignation of my government to the president of the republic … He thanked the members of the government for all their efforts during these three years," former prime minister Mohamed Said Fofana was quoted as saying.

The resignation comes two days after Guinea's new intake of lawmakers entered Parliament for its first session following widely-contested elections in September, with former banker Claude Kory Koundiano elected president of the chamber.

"Obviously, as I've said elsewhere, in human activity, there are always acts that succeed and others that don't. But overall, [the president] is pleased with the efforts that have been put in and is committed to continue to work to bring this country out of poverty," Fofana added.

The September 28 polls gave Conde's Rally of the Guinean People and its junior partners an absolute majority in the 114-member Parliament but the ballot came under heavy criticism from opposition parties. The opposition coalition alleged "massive fraud", claiming the polls were marred by irregularities including ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and minors casting votes.

International observers also said serious flaws affected the credibility of the vote and anti-government demonstrators have staged several protests in Guinea's capital Conakry over a Supreme Court ruling in November confirming the result. In 2010, Conde became the first democratically elected president of the west African country, which has a long history of political and military turmoil and bloody crackdowns on protesters.

Legislative elections should have taken place within six months of his inauguration in December 2010. But they were pushed back, with opposing factions unable to agree on conditions for the elections, leaving the role of parliament to be played by an unelected National Transitional Council.

The last parliamentary elections in Guinea before September took place in June 2002 during the dictatorship of General Lansana Conte, who died in December 2008 after 24 years in power. – Sapa-AFP