CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea’s main opposition party announced Sunday that it will take part in next month’s presidential election despite its concerns that President Alpha Conde’s bid for a third term is undemocratic.
The development sets the stage for a third face-off between Conde and opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, who first ran against each other in the country’s historic 2010 election that came after more than a half-century of dictatorship.
The opposition had threatened to boycott the Oct. 18 vote, citing conditions that unfairly favored the ruling party. However, Diallo vowed Sunday he would defeat the president.
“Alpha Conde no longer has any legitimacy in the eyes of Guineans,” Diallo said, addressing supporters at the headquarters of his party, the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea.
The incumbent president previously defeated Diallo in both the 2010 and 2015 elections, but many in Guinea say that Conde’s popularity has sharply fallen as a result of his decision to seek a third term. After surviving colonialism and dictatorship, many Guineans are fearful of the president’s intentions.
The country has a two-term limit for presidents, but Conde now maintains that does not apply to him because of a constitutional referendum approved earlier this year.
Opponents now fear that Conde, 82, will use the new constitution to restart the clock on his term limits, potentially giving him another decade in power.
Conde, though, insists the changes were democratically approved by voters in the March referendum, reflecting the will of the people.
Associated Press writer Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal contributed.