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Guinea Opposition Leader Voices Support for Coup


FILE - Guinean opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo votes in Conakry, Oct. 18, 2020.

The leader of Guinea’s main opposition party, the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), says the country’s September 5 coup was justified because President Alpha Conde was illegitimate after he changed the constitution to run for a third term.

Speaking to VOA’s James Butty in an exclusive interview through an interpreter, Cellou Dalein Diallo said all the ills of Guinean society cited by the military junta had been identified and denounced by his party.

Asked if he would personally participate in a unity government if the military were to ask him to do so, Diallo said he would personally not join a transitional government but would designate members of his party to take part.

Diallo claimed to have won the October 2020 presidential election, but the electoral commission declared Conde the winner, and the Guinean Supreme Court validated the results in favor of President Conde.

Diallo said he would run again for president in a new election.

The election followed a March 2020 constitutional referendum that paved the way for Conde, 83, to extend his stay in office. The opposition said at least 21 people were killed during protests against the referendum in Nzerekore, Guinea’s second largest city. The Guinean government refuted the allegations.

Conde won the 2010 and 2015 elections, but critics said he became increasingly authoritarian.

Diallo told VOA he would highly recommend that the fight against corruption and human rights abuses should be a top priority for the military government. He said the military junta should make it possible for victims of human rights abuses during the Conde administration to get justice.

Regional bloc ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) has condemned the September 5 coup. As the group meets this Thursday in an emergency summit to discuss the military takeover in Guinea, Diallo said he hopes ECOWAS will help Guinea put together a transition process that leads to a free and fair election.

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