On Saturday, March 28, the Guinean Independent National Electoral Commission upheld the constitutional changes the public voted for in the controversial Sunday, March 22, referendum limiting presidential terms to two, but extending the length of the term from five to six years. This new constitution potentially enables President Alpha Conde to govern the country for another 12 years.
According to the Electoral Commission, the participation rate of the referendum was 61 percent, with the "Yes" obtaining 91.59 percent of the votes. The United States embassy in Conakry released a statement on Thursday, March 30, questioning the credibility of the results.
The day of the referendum and the following two days were marked by protests organized by the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) opposition party. Protests resulted in violence with police forces that left several people dead nationwide. On Thursday, March 30, the FNDC called for the establishment of an international commission of investigation to "shed full light on the crimes committed during the protests against the constitutional change."
The constitutional referendum was coupled with the legislative elections whose results are expected to be announced in the coming days, although the exact date remains unclear as of Wednesday, April 1.
The coupled legislative election and referendum, originally supposed to take place on March 1, were postponed several times due to concerns raised by international observers about the electoral register. The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie had then ceased its electoral-monitoring mission, citing 2.49 million "problematic" entries on the electoral register.
President Condé, who has been in power since 2010, proposed a new constitution via the referendum which the opposition - that boycotted the vote - denounced as a constitutional coup enabling Condé to remain in power. The new constitution would limit presidential terms to two but extend the duration of the term to six years.
Supporters of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) opposition party have held multiple protests in recent months which have sometimes resulted in violence.
Individuals in Guinea, particularly in Conakry, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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