Special forces commander Mamady Doumbouya, who ousted President Alpha Conde, walks out after meeting the envoys from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss ways to steer Guinea back toward a constitutional regime, in Conakry, Guinea September 10, 2021. REUTERS/Saliou Samb

CONAKRY,(Reuters) – Guinea’s main opposition parties have rejected the ruling military junta’s proposed 39-month democratic transition timeline, they said in a statement on Wednesday.

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, head of the junta that took power in a coup last September, said this month it would probably take more than three years for the West African country to transition back to civilian rule. read more

He told state television that after political consultations he was considering a transition of 39 months – the first time he has proposed a timeline.

Three main opposition parties and over 60 of their smaller allies rejected the proposal in a joint statement and urged interim leaders to “defend democratic institutions”.

They said a body known as the National Transitional Council (NTC) – set up by the junta to act as parliament until elections – had not validated the timeline and called for “real” dialogue with all concerned parties, including civil society.

The junta did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Doumbouya had previously said he would submit the 39-month proposal to the NTC, which approved a revised 36-month timeline later on Wednesday.

Some opposition MPs, including members of toppled ex-president Alpha Conde’s party, voted against the 36-month proposal and walked out on the NTC after it was passed, local media reported.

Guinea’s putsch was one of four to hit West Africa since August 2020, raising fears of democratic backslide in a region that had just started shedding its “coup belt” reputation.

Military leaders in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali have been at odds with West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which is trying to speed up promises to hold elections.

The body imposed sanctions on Mali after its junta proposed holding on to power until 2025 and has threatened to do the same in Burkina Faso, where coup leaders have laid out a three-year transition timeline.

Sanctions in Guinea have so far only affected junta members, but could be escalated to the wider economy if the interim government drags its feet, ECOWAS warned in March. read more

The 15-member bloc has not yet reacted to Doumbouya’s 39-month proposal nor to the NTC’s36-month timeline.

Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Estelle Shirbon, Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters

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