Guinea president announces constitutional referendum that could keep him in power

Guinea President Alpha Conde said on Thursday that he would seek a public referendum on a new constitution, a move…

Guinea President Alpha Conde said on Thursday that he would seek a public referendum on a new constitution, a move his opponents fear he will use as a pretext to hang onto power beyond the end of his constitutional mandate.

Conde has governed since 2010, and his second and final five-year term finishes next year. Demonstrations since October against a possible constitutional change have resulted in at least 14 deaths across the country.

The opposition suspects 81-year-old Conde plans to use a new constitution as a reset button on the current two-term limit. A proposed draft for a new constitution, seen by Reuters, does not explicitly state whether Conde would be eligible for the 2020 election, but Conde has refused to rule out running.

In a televised address on Thursday evening, Conde said the presidents of the National Assembly and the constitutional court had signed off on the proposal, which was drafted by a special commission.

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