On Friday, November 15, final results were at last issued by the Supreme Court of Guinea for the September 28th legislative polls. The Court declared itself ‘incompetent’ in addressing the electoral complaints filed by both opposition and ruling majority parties and referred them to lower courts for settlement. The opposition issued a declaration expressing regret and surprise over the Court’s decision, as this same Court cancelled results in five voting districts for the 2010 presidential polls. The opposition has raised the possibility of appealing the ruling to ‘supranational jurisdictions’ such as the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the preliminary results published by the independent election commission (CENI) stand. Accordingly, President Alpha Condé’s RPG controls a relative majority while the UFDG of opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo becomes the second largest party in the 114-seat National Assembly. The distribution of seats in the newly elected legislature is as follows:
– RPG 53
– UFDG 37
– UFR 10
– UPG 2
– PEDN 2
– Remaining parties (GPT, GRUP, GUD, NGR, PGRP, PNR, PTS, RDIG, UGDD and UPR) 1 seat each
The RPG has formed a coalition with a number of smaller parties (GRUP, GUD, PNR, PTS, UGDD, UPR), thereby securing 59 seats – enough to control an absolute majority in the legislature. This number could increase if the RPG succeeds in wooing smaller parties currently aligned with the opposition, for example through promises of cabinet posts.
The opposition is currently considering its options. Some neighborhoods of Conakry have seen clashes between opposition activists and police as opposition leaders have reconvened to determine their strategy following the Court’s ruling. A joint decision by the opposition parties is expected next week.
To boycott or not to boycott? With 50+ seats and its major leaders elected (Cellou Dalein Diallo, Jean Marie Doré, Kassory Fofana, Lansana Kouyaté, Bah Souleymane, Aboubacar Sylla, Jean Marc Telliano, and Sidya Touré among others) the opposition is well positioned to play an active role in the legislature. This presupposes that the logic of ‘winner-take-all’ does not prevail in the allocation of leadership positions in the National Assembly. If all major political groupings are willing and able to take part in the organization and the daily functioning of the Assembly, through adequate representation in leadership meetings and committee work, the legislature could become a forum for political dialogue and allow the development of democratic practice.
The long waiting period between the elections and the final results and the close outcome of the polls is likely to have prepared the ground for an acceptance of the final outcome. Active participation in the legislature would allow the opposition to press for electoral reform and the implementation of remaining elements of the July 3, 2013 agreement facilitated by UNSG Special Representative Said Djinnit that paved the way for the peaceful holding of the legislative polls. The opposition’s winning strategy may well be to accept the results of a flawed process (read the preliminary statement from the EU election observation mission here) in the hopes of improving conditions for the 2015 presidential race.