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The area of present-day northern Guinea was under the control of successive African empires (Ghana, Mali and Songhay. European traders had been active along the coast since the 15th century, but did not settle in the area until the late 17th century. In the 18th century, a kingdom of Genni lay along the banks of the Niger, which is reflected in Berber documents of the time.

rance's claims to southern Guinea and the island of Tumbo (now Conakry) date from 1783 and 1885 respectively. The area was administered from Dakar (Senegal) until 1891, when it became an autonomous colony of France. In 1958, a referendum was held in French Guinea on whether or not to join a new community of self-governing French overseas territories. French Guinea was the only French colony to vote against such membership. A prominent role was played by Ahmed Sekou Touré, secretary-general of the Parti Démocratique de Guinée-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (PDG-RDA), who demanded complete independence. Thus, in 1958, French Guinea became fully independent and Sekou Touré became the first president of the Republic of Guinea. The PDG-RDA became the only political party.

French economic reprisals were the result. Aid and investments were suspended. It was not until 1976 that diplomatic relations were restored. Sekou Touré pursued a socialist revolutionary policy. Any form of opposition was suppressed. In 1979, the country was renamed the 'People's Republic' and Sekou Touré declared that he wanted to cooperate with both capitalist and socialist countries. In practice, little came of both.

In 1984, Sekou Touré died suddenly. Before a successor could be chosen, a military coup took place under the leadership of the Comité Militaire de Redressement National (CMRN). The leader of this committee, Lansana Conté, became the president of the "Second Republic". Conté carried out economic and political reforms. A slow process of democratisation was set in motion. The CRMN was replaced by a transitional party, the Comité Transitoire de Redressement National (CTRN). The 'Third Republic' was proclaimed in 1991. A new party led by Conté, the Parti de l'Unité et du Progrès (PUP), was born. In addition, as part of the wave of democratisation that swept across Africa after the end of the Cold War, several opposition parties were founded, such as the Parti pour le Renouveau et le Progrès (PRP) and the Union pour la Nouvelle République (UNR).
Then fights broke out between the supporters of the different parties. The repeated postponement of elections was not conducive to political calm either. In 1994, Conté was inaugurated as president of the Third Republic. Relations between the government and the opposition parties did not improve. In 1995, parliamentary elections were held in which the PUP won the majority of votes. Shortly afterwards, a new opposition front was formed, the Coordination de l'Opposition Démocratique (CODEM), with twelve opposition parties represented. Four months later, a revolt initiated by the army and directed against Conté broke out. The uprising culminated in a coup d'état, which, however, did not succeed. The military apparatus was then partially reorganised.

New presidential elections took place in December 1998 under strict security measures. Alpha Condé, the president's main opposition candidate, was arrested. Condé then won again. The opposition protested against the way the elections were organised and against the results themselves. The unrest that broke out, however, could not turn the tide. Conté remained in power as autocrat. There is no longer any question of democratisation. Rather, the clock was turned back. The Third Republic's constitution stipulated that the president could only serve two terms in office. In 2002, the President had this overturned by means of a fraudulent referendum, so that he could stand again as a candidate in the presidential elections of December 2003. His re-election was a foregone conclusion.

In February 2007, 23 people were killed in protests and looting in the capital Conakry. The pressure on President Lansana Conté to resign increased. Thousands protested against the appointment of a confidant of the president as prime minister. Eighteen people were killed and, a day later, another five people were killed during looting.

In January, large demonstrations and strikes by trade unions forced the autocratic president to relinquish power to a prime minister. In May 2008, the president sacked Lansana Kouyate and in his place came Ahmed Tidiane Souare.

In December 2008, the military under Moussa Dadis Camara seized power after the death of President Conté. They nominated Kabine Komara as the new Prime Minister. In August 2009, Moussa Dadis Camara promised that elections would be held in 2010. In September 2009, a demonstration against Moussa Dadis Camara was the scene of a massacre by soldiers in a stadium in Conakry. In December 2009, Moussa Dadis Camara was shot by a former employee. Moussa Dadis Camara survived but fled to Burkina Faso. In January 2010, he was replaced by Sekouba Konate.

Jean-Marie Dore of the democratic opposition became interim Prime Minister to ensure the transition to a civilian government. Presidential elections were held on 27 June 2010. There was no winner in the first round. In the end, Alpha Condé won the elections. He becomes the new president with a five-year mandate. Parliamentary elections are postponed in the following years and finally scheduled for 12 May 2013. By the way, the elections have already been postponed again. From 2014, Guinea is severely affected by the Ebola virus outbreak. In December 2015, Conde is re-elected as president. In 2016, the Ebola virus appears to be under control. In 2017, there is unrest over issues surrounding pollution from Bauxite mines and in August there is a large protest march organised by the opposition to force local elections.

In March 2020, Guinea passed a constitutional referendum extending presidential terms and reappointing Conde, and later that year he won a controversial third presidential term. On 5 September 2021, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya led a military coup, arresting President Conde, suspending the constitution and dissolving the government. Doumbouya was declared president on 17 September 2021. A transitional charter, issued at the end of September, made Doumbouya an interim president for an indefinite period, and he was formally sworn in on 1 October 2021.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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