By Vatican News
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde said on Wednesday that he will be seeking reelection for a third term as the country’s president, confirming ruling party, Rally of the Guinean People (RPG)’s announcement of his candidacy via national television on Monday.
82-year-old Conde’s candidacy hinges on a change to the constitution that was approved by a referendum in March. Conde’s supporters say that the constitutional change acts as a reset button on the two-term limit, making him eligible for reelection.
This latest announcement has been particularly unpopular with Conde’s political opposition who say that he is violating presidential term limits.
The incumbent’s push for a change in the constitution earlier this year raised suspicions of a potential third-term bid and sparked violent protests led by his political opponents during which at least thirty people were killed and many other injured.
Under the current constitution, President Conde is only allowed two five-year terms. His candidacy has sparked fresh fears of more violence, placing the West African nation’s nascent democracy on the balance.
Conde became Guinea’s president in 2010 and was re-elected to a second term in 2015. He is the first democratically-elected leader since the country’s independence from France in 1958. Before that, he was a leading opponent of Lansana Conte who ruled Guinea after coming to power in a coup in 1984. Lansana Conte died in 2008.
Not the first
The Guinean president is not the first to seek reelection after constitutional changes. In the past month, neighboring Ivorian president, Alassane Ouattara announced his candidacy for the presidential elections slated for 31 October. Ouattara is also insisting that his first two terms did not count because the country had adopted a new constitution.