12 candidates vie with Conde for Guinea's presidency
Conakry (AFP) –
A dozen candidates have filed bids to contest upcoming elections in Guinea against President Alpha Conde, who is seeking a controversial third term, the constitutional court said Wednesday.
The court is now vetting the list after Tuesday's midnight deadline for submitting applications, its chief of staff, Ibrahima Sory Toure told AFP.
The October 18 poll has been overshadowed by a bitter row over Conde's future.
Conde, an 82-year-old two-term president, has pushed through a revamped constitution that opponents say was crafted to reset the term counter.
He last week ended months of speculation by confirming that he would seek a third time in office, despite protests in which dozens have been killed.
The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), an umbrella grouping of parties, labour unions and civil society groups, has been campaigning against the revision which it has denounced as a constitutional coup.
The group was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to decide whether it will participate in the election.
The opposition is divided over whether to boycott the vote.
Former premier and leading opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, 68, has decided to run after boycotting the March constitutional referendum.
Protests against Conde's suspected re-election plan erupted in October last year but met with a ruthless crackdown, and several dozen people have died.
Under Guinea's constitution, presidents may only serve two terms.
But according to analysts, the new constitution could reset the presidential term counter and enable him to run a third time -- an argument invoked by Conde and his Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) party.
Conde is a former opposition figure who was jailed under previous regimes in Guinea, a country rich in minerals but plagued by entrenched poverty and a history of instability.
Hopes of a new political dawn flowered when Conde became Guinea's first democratically elected president in 2010, but critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian.
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