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Guinea’s opposition urges ECOWAS intervention as vote looms

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Guinea’s main opposition leader called on neighboring West African states to help to stop a political crisis in Guinea where President Alpha Conde is running for a third term in the October elections.

The 15-nation West African group known as ECOWAS supports democracy in the region and has recently pressed Mali’s junta, who seized power last month, to return the country to civilian rule. Guinea’s opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo, said Thursday that he would like to see the regional body turn its attention to his country.

Diallo, 68, has denounced as unconstitutional Conde’s decision to run again in the Oct. 18 elections. This will be the third face-off between Conde and Diallo, who first ran against each other in the country’s 2010 election that came after more than a half-century of dictatorship.

“We are a little jealous of the promptness with which ECOWAS acted in Mali to help that country reconcile when it has not taken action to help Guinea which has long been in crisis,” Diallo told reporters in Dakar, Senegal, where he was visiting Thursday. “We deplore the lack of reaction from ECOWAS against President Conde’s candidacy.”

Diallo and Conde have faced off before in the 2010 and 2015 elections respectively. Diallo lost on both occassions.

Guinea has a two-term limit for presidents. But a controversial referendum vote in March cleared Conde to run again. Dozens of protestors were killed by security forces as they held demonstrations against the exercise.