Guinea’s main opposition leader said on Tuesday that he was willing to participate in a transition after a military coup over the weekend, as the soldiers who took power consolidated their takeover.
West African countries have threatened to impose sanctions following the ouster of President Alpha Conde, who was serving a third term after altering the constitution to allow it.
His opponents said the change was illegal and the frustration turned into deadly protests last year. Eighty political prisoners detained by the Conde government, including several who had campaigned against his third term, were released Tuesday night, said Hamidou Barry of the Guinea Human Rights Organization.
Regional leaders will meet to discuss Guinea on Wednesday, not Thursday, as suggested in a previous staff memo.
Coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, a former French Foreign Legion officer, has promised a transitional government of national unity and a “new era for governance and economic development.” But it has not yet explained exactly what this will entail, nor has it given a deadline.
Guinea’s main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo told Reuters on Tuesday that he had not yet been consulted on the transition, but was ready to participate.
“We would send representatives, why not, to participate in the process to return the country to constitutional order,” said Diallo, a former prime minister who finished runner-up to Conde in three successive elections, the most recent last October.
Sunday’s uprising, in which Conde and other top politicians were detained or prevented from traveling, is the third since April in West and Central Africa, raising concerns about a pushback to military rule in a region that has moved toward the multi-party democracy since then. The 1990s.
Conakry was quiet for the second day after the coup, with some military checkpoints removed. Traffic was normal Tuesday in the administrative center of the capital, the Kaloum Peninsula.
Moving to consolidate their power, the soldiers who led the coup have installed army officers at the top of the eight regions and various administrative districts of Guinea.
The coup raised concerns about the supply of bauxite, the main aluminum ore, from Guinea, a leading producer.
The aluminum benchmark contract on the London Metal Exchange remained near a 10-year high on Monday.
However, the mines have not reported any outages. Chinese state aluminum producer Chalco’s bauxite project in Guinea said it was operating normally.
Australian-listed gold and bauxite exploration companies Lindian Resources and Polymetals Resources also said Tuesday that their activities were unaffected.
The Kremlin said it was closely monitoring the political situation and hoped that Russian business interests, which include three major bauxite mines and an alumina refinery, would not suffer.
During his decade in power, Conde led Guinea through economic growth, but unemployment remained high.
Afrobarometer surveys suggest that the majority of Guineans believe that the level of corruption has increased, while dissatisfaction with the economy and personal living conditions has also increased.
Diallo said corruption became endemic under Conde.
“An elite that insolently enriched itself, while poverty increased and the country’s infrastructure crumbled. There was also a general malaise in the country,” he said.