Wednesday, December 24, 2008

[Guinean news] New junta announced; coup leader parades through Conakry

As of: 11:43 PM EST -- 4:33 AM Thursday Guinean time

Events in Guinea continue to move quickly with uncertainty remaining the one constant.

The military published a list of the 31 members to comprise the junta, which is being called the National Council for Democracy and Development (known by its French acronym CNDD).

The CNDD originally ordered a curfew on Wednesday but then lifted it for 'religious reasons.'

The junta named Captain Moussa Dadis Camara as its leader and as Guinea's new head of state. The coup appears to be led by junior members of the military as Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported that they asked senior officers to join them in consolidating martial rule.

The self-declared president Capt. Camara was paraded through the streets of Conakry as cheering crowds screamed "long live the president!", according to the Associated Press (AP).

The AP added: Initially the coup leaders promised elections within 60 days, but Camara said in a broadcast Wednesday that the 32-member junta would hold power for about two years... what would have been the end of Lansana Conté's present term in office.

According to the Guinean constitution, National Assembly president Aboubacar Somparé should become acting president of the Republic until presidential elections can be held (within 60 days). However, coup leaders have rejected the legality of this, citing the fact that the constitutional mandate of this parliament expired two years ago and new legislative elections have yet to be organized.

"This unknown captain doesn't control the army. The majority of the troops are still loyal — but one little group can cause a lot of disorder," civilian prime minister Ahmed Tidiane Souaré told the wire service.

Guinéenews reported that civil society was mobilizing to protest the 'hold up' of power by the CNDD. The main civil society organization collective issued a statement to 'condemn this attempted seizure of power by force and calls for a peaceful, constitution transition negotiated with all actors."

Longtime opposition leader Bâ Mamadou told RFI's Afrique Midi that he believes that some members of the political class have collaborated with the military, even participating in the drafting of the inital coup statement, in order to ease their way into power. But he said their efforts would fail because once the military consolidated power, they were never going to give it up.

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