San Francisco Chronicle

Opposition chief urges junta to hold elections

- By Boubacar Diallo Boubacar Diallo is an Associated Press writer.

CONAKRY, Guinea — Longtime opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo is calling on the country’s ruling military junta to set up a transition­al government and establish a timeline for holding elections as soon as possible following last week’s coup.

Diallo accused deposed President Alpha Conde of creating his own demise because he sought a third term in office by arguing the constituti­onal term limits did not apply to him.

“He betrayed his oath, by doing so, and he plunged the country into a deep crisis,” Diallo told the Associated Press in an interview, describing his longtime political foe as a dictator.

Diallo stressed, though, that the junta now must prove they do intend to give power back to the people as they promised when they overthrew Conde on Sept. 5.

“I want it to set up as large a transition­al government as possible and to organize inclusive elections as soon as possible, within a reasonable period of time, free and transparen­t for a peaceful return to constituti­onal order,” he said.

Over the past week, internatio­nal pressure has mounted on the junta leaders to establish a quick return to democratic rule and to release Conde from their custody.

The African Union and the West African regional economic bloc known as ECOWAS have both suspended Guinea in an effort to ramp up pressure. Diallo said he knows that seizures of power by the military are always condemned but he called on internatio­nal institutio­ns to work with the junta on the way forward.

“I call on them not to sanction Guinea, but to accompany the new authoritie­s in the rapid return to constituti­onal order,” he said.

Diallo, who heads the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea party, acknowledg­ed he still hopes to run for president a fourth time. “I certainly wish to be elected, but I wish there to be inclusive, free and transparen­t elections,” he said.

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