afrol News, 13 May - As Guinea's military leaders are preparing the country for elections on 27 June that are to begin its transitions towards democracy, the election commission declares it cannot tackle too many presidential candidates. A US$ 80,000 deposit should keep numbers low.
Some 120 political parties have already been formed in anticipation of Guinea's first democratic elections, which now are being prepared by the country's transitional government. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was facing an increasing headache on how to finance a poll with endless candidate lists.
To find a solution, Guinea's main political parties were gathered by the CENI to discuss how the candidate jungle could be made more navigable. Stakeholders quickly agreed that candidates should be obliged to provide some kind of financial guarantee for their participation.
Smaller parties proposed to demand a financial deposit of between 20 and 25 million Guinean francs (approximately US$ 4,500), while some stakeholders even proposed the bond to be as high as francs 800 million (US$ 161,000). The Guinean Ministry of Finance proposed a deposit of francs 750 million.
The CENI, listening to the strongly diverging advises, thus reached what it described as a compromise solution. Candidates for the 27 June presidential election would need to deposit francs 400 million (US$ 80,000) with the Commission to be approved.
Several opposition parties have already protested this week's decision by the electoral commission, saying it was too high and will effectively ban many serious contesters from the poll. In the crumbling economy of Guinea, where opposition parties only recently have been given a chance to form freely, US$ 100,000 is a vast amount.
But also the CENI is struggling to meet expectations to organise a flawless election within a short timetable in a large country of very poor communications and infrastructure. CENI however holds that it will be able to organise the first in a row of polls on 27 June, recently publishing it had identified an electoral roll totalling 4.2 million potential voters.
General Sékouba Konaté, the de facto leader of Guinea, only last week assured the population that the 27 June date would not be postponed, despite some opposition parties calling for more time to prepare. Electoral campaigns are foreseen to kick off on 17 May, next Monday.
If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes, CENI is already planning for a second polling round on 11 July. Later, parliamentary and local elections are to be organised to finalise Guinea's transition towards democracy.
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