Guinea president announces controversial new draft constitution


Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has announced plans to seek a public referendum on a new draft constitution, despite mass demonstrations over concerns he intends to pursue a third term.

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.

“This proposal will be the subject of a broad public outreach campaign before its adoption by the sovereign people,” he said, without specifying when the referendum would take place.

The draft constitution published by the presidency stated that the president is elected for a mandate of six years, renewable once. The presidential term is currently five years.

Conde said the new constitution is needed to replace the 2010 version, which he says was drafted hastily to end coup leader Dadis Camara’s brief tenure.

However, the opposition suspects 81-year-old Conde plans to use a new constitution as a reset button on the current two-term limit. But the president, who has been in power since 2010, has not stated in clear terms whether he intended to run for president again when his second tenure ends in 2020.

Demonstrations since October against a possible constitutional change have resulted in at least 14 deaths across the country.

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