Guinea president to seek second term

Mouctar Bah
Guinea President Alpha Conde (C) waves at supporters of his party, The Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) on August 11, 2015 in Conakry, after his nomination as candidate for the next presidential election in October (AFP Photo/Cellou Binani)

Conakry (AFP) - Guinea's first democratically-elected President Alpha Conde will seek re-election in polls later this year, his party said Tuesday.

In a widely-expected move, Conde's Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), named the 77-year-old as its candidate at the close of a three-day party conference.

Conde will face former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo in a repeat of the west African country's last presidential vote in 2010.

The first round is scheduled for October 11.

The country of around 12 million witnessed deadly protests earlier this year after the opposition rejected the election commission's timetable for the presidential and separate local elections.

Talks between the government and the opposition aimed at resolving the standoff have been suspended for weeks.

Conde told a crowd of chanting supporters, wearing t-shirts in the party's trademark bright yellow, that he wanted to make private enterprise "the true motor of development" in poverty-stricken Guinea.

Diallo announced late last month already that he would challenge Conde on behalf of his Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea party.

Political loyalties in Guinea are generally drawn along ethnic lines. Conde is backed by the main Fula ethnic group, while Diallo is supported by the second-largest group, the Malinke.

The last election in Guinea -- September 2013's parliamentary vote -- was delayed by almost three years, stoking ethnic tensions that have dogged Guinean politics since independence from France in 1958.

The polls gave the RPG and its allies an absolute majority in parliament but opposition parties alleged "massive fraud", including ballot stuffing and voter intimidation.

Conde came to power in the country's first democratic polls in 2010, a few months after an army captain who seized power in a 2008 coup, Moussa Dadis Camara, fled the country.

Camara, who went into exile in Burkina Faso after being injured in an assassination attempt, is wanted in Guinea over a 2009 massacre in a stadium, in which at least 157 pro-democracy protesters were killed.