When Guinea's strong man Sekou Touré died in
1984, the military took power in a coup. The country's
new leader Lansana Conté led a strict regime, although
after protests he was forced to introduce multi-party
democracy. When Conté died in 2008, the military
regained power. The new junta promised free elections,
but struck hard against all who opposed. After an
assassination attempt against the junta leader, a
transitional government took over preparing for
democratic elections. However, the presidential
election, won by Alpha Condé, triggered ethnic violence.
Military coup 1984
President Sekou Touré died in 1984 and while the
leadership of the Guinea Democratic Party (PDG) was
discussing possible successors, a group of officers took
power. New President became Colonel Lansana Conté, while
another Colonel Diarra Traoré became Prime Minister.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Guinea. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
The new leaders wanted to encourage a private
business and turned to the West for assistance. Many
political prisoners were released and many indicated
that Guinea was heading towards a more open political
climate. Since Conté abolished the Prime Minister's
post, Traoré in 1985 tried to take power in a coup. It
failed and Traore and several other people were
Multi-party systems are introduced
The country's debt forced severe economic tightening
in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank. The dissatisfaction with the regime
grew and in the early 1990s Conté succumbed to demands
to introduce a multi-party system.
Eight candidates took part in the presidential
elections in 1993. Conté received over half of the votes
after the result was annulled in an area where the
opposition was strong. In the 1995 parliamentary
elections, his Unit and Progress Party (PUP) won 71 of
the 114 seats. The second largest party was the Guinean
People's Party (RPG), led by Alpha Condé.
In 1996, parts of the military revolted against Conté.
The uprising required about fifty casualties before the
president agreed to the revolvers' demands for higher
wages. After that, he won over the military's support.
Mass redundancies in the public sector and high
unemployment created an explosive social situation in
the cities. Despite this, Conté was re-elected as
president in 1998. Both before and after the election,
the regime let prison detainees oppose, among them Condé.
The PUC clearly won in the parliamentary elections
held in 2002 and boycotted by the largest opposition
parties. Conté ran in the presidential election in 2003.
As expected, he won big, but only one other candidate
stood after everyone else was rejected by the Supreme
Worse economy, popular protests
After the elections, the economy continued to
deteriorate, sparking new popular protests. In December
2004, Cellou Dalein Diallo was appointed new Prime
Minister. His main task was to get the economy
organized, but he also initiated a dialogue with the
In the summer of 2005, large price increases for food
and fuel triggered a series of strikes and street
protests. The following year, Conté announced through a
decree that the prime minister should be given greater
powers, while dismissing Diallo. According to analysts,
the prime minister's proposal for a new economic policy
had challenged the inner circle of the president.
Inflation made it increasingly difficult for ordinary
Guineans to cope with their living. From 2006, the
National Federation of Guinean Workers' Union (CNTG) and
the Guinean Workers Union (USGT) played an increasingly
important role in the protests against the government.
Gradually, more and more residents joined the
demonstrations. Police and military hit hard on the
protests and in connection with a strike in early 2007,
some 60 people were killed. Conté first seemed to go to
the opposition to show that he did not intend to give up
any power. Since a new general strike was announced in
February, the regime introduced a state of emergency and
ordered the army to restore order. A large number of
people are shot dead by the security forces. The strike
was halted since the president promised in February to
appoint a new prime minister.
Former diplomat Lansana Kouyaté was named new prime
minister. However, neither Conté nor Kouyaté had full
control over the military, which plundered and harassed
the civilian population. The situation improved since
Conté dismissed the army command and promoted a thousand
soldiers. The government also managed to improve
contacts with the World Bank and the IMF, but for
ordinary Guineans it made little difference.
Conté dies, new military coup
Parliament's term expired in June 2007, but no
election was held. High food and fuel prices triggered
new protests in the fall of 2008. When Conté died at the
end of the same year, a group of officers conducted a
coup, led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, which promised
free elections and the fight against corruption.
At first, many Guineans welcomed the coup, but doubts
soon arose as to whether the junta was ready to give up
power. Since Camara hinted that he intended to run for
office in the presidential election, tens of thousands
of people gathered in Conakry in September 2009 to
protest against it. Military was deployed against the
protesters and 157 people were killed and over a
thousand injured. Several major donors were now
suspending their support for the country.
In December 2009, Camara was managed by a close
associate, but he survived and was brought to Morocco to
receive care. One reason for the act was said to be that
the assailant feared that he alone would be blamed for
the massacre a few months earlier. The government was
temporarily taken over by Colonel Sékouba Konaté, who
paved the way for a transitional regime that would
prepare for free elections and write a new constitution.
Democratic elections and ethnic unrest
Presidential elections were announced in June 2010.
24 candidates stood, but the fight was between Alpha
Condé from RPG, and Cellou Dalein Diallo from Guinea's
Democratic Forces (UFDG) and Sidya Touré from the
Republican Forces Union (UFR).
Diallo won with 44 percent of the vote against 18
percent for Condé. Since none of them had received more
than half the votes, a second round of voting must be
held. Accusations of cheating came from 20 candidates,
but international observers approved the election.
The second round was held on November 7, after being
moved several times. Meanwhile, violence erupted in
several parts of the country. The contradictions were
strongest between Malinké, the people group Condé
belongs to, and Diallos folk fulani. Both candidates
called for calm, but Diallo accused the security forces
of arbitrary arrests of his supporters and of provoking
Prior to the election, Condé had managed to gather
support from 16 parties gathered under the name Rainbow
Alliance. He also played to the concern of other people
groups that Fulani, which is a financially strong group,
would control both the economy and politics if Diallo
won the election.
Condé won with 52.5 percent of the vote, but Diallo
refused to approve the result. Reports of unrest came
from several directions and dozens of people were
killed, prompting authorities to introduce emergency
permits. Most of the victims came from the Fulani people
and it was again the army and other security forces that
were accused of being behind most of the violence. On
December 2, the Supreme Court ruled that Condé had won
the election and Diallo accepted the ruling. The state
of emergency was lifted on December 10 and the situation
in the country normalized.
Alpha Condé forms government
In December 2010, Condé took over as president. With
an almost empty treasury, he must now try to meet the
Guinean hopes for better living conditions. Dalein
Diallo declined to participate in a national unity
However, Condé's government was big, 40 people,
because he had to take into account the 16 parties that
had supported him in the presidential election. However,
Prime Minister Mohamed Saïd Fofana was taken from an
economic research institute and the President himself
assumed responsibility for the defense. Three generals
from the former transitional government were also given
ministerial posts and one from the former junta, despite
being designated one of the UN responsible for the
massacre in 2009. As a gesture of reconciliation, he
also included three ministers from the Fulani people
The new government took measures to curb high food
prices and introduced free maternity care. Defense
reform and anti-corruption efforts were praised abroad.
Through the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), the country had part of its debts written
off (see Financial overview).
Parliamentary elections and Ebola epidemic
The parliamentary elections, which would have been
held in 2011, were postponed several times. The
opposition highlighted its dissatisfaction with the
delays and its concern that the election would not be
conducted properly, among other things by boycotting the
work of the Ceni election commission, until the
government announced in early 2013 that the election
would be held in May of that year. The tours became
numerous before it finally got rid of. Street protests,
some of which led to violence, were interspersed with
talks between the government and the opposition. In
2012-2013, at least 52 people, most of them protesters,
were killed in connection with political protests.
Following the UN mediation, the parliamentary
elections were held on September 28, 2013. According to
media reports, both Condés RPG, Diallos UFDG and Sidya
Tourés UFR looked good. But when the official figures
came, RPG had subtracted. The opposition accused the
electoral commission of cheating, while observers from
the regional organizations Ecowas and the AU approved
the election with certain reservations.
At the end of 2013, Guinea suffered from an epidemic
of the ebola virus disease that rapidly spread to Sierra
Leone and Liberia (see Social Conditions). The
government was criticized for not realizing how serious
the situation was until August 2014. Many Guineans
suspected that President Condé would use the Ebola
crisis as a sweeping reason to postpone the presidential
election. But there were also those who believed that
the virus was created by France and major mining
companies in order to weaken Guinea. By the time the
epidemic was over, more than 2,500 people had died of