Guinea’s electoral body on Friday announced the people have voted overwhelmingly to support a contested new constitution, reported Africa News.
The proposal to change the constitution was faced with mass demonstrations in the country. The opposition parties in Guinea feared that the referendum will allow President Alpha Conde to govern for 12 more years.
According to Independent National Electoral Commission president, Amadou Salifou Kebe, 91.59 percent of votes were in favor of adopting the new constitution, while 8.41 percent were against. He added that the turnout was 61 percent and that these were provisional figures. The Constitutional Court has eight days to confirm the results.
The vote in Guinea was originally planned for March 1 but was postponed until March 22 after international observers raised concerns about its fairness. The referendum was also boycotted by the opposition.
Conde, 82, has not yet clarified if he will use the proposed changes to seek another term when his second and final term runs out this year as per the current constitution. The new constitution would limit presidential terms to two but extend the length of the term to six years, potentially enabling Conde to govern for another 12 years.
It currently remains unconfirmed if terms served under the previous constitution would count, but Conde has suggested they would not.
The proposal to change the constitution has proved hugely controversial Guinea, spurring mass demonstrations in which at least 32 people have been killed since October.
France, the United States, and the United Nations had all expressed their reservations about the vote on March 22. But the election authorities went ahead with the referendum after canceling out some 2.5 million unverifiable names from its electoral register on advice from the Economic Community of West African States. The voting day was reportedly marred by violence with scores of polling stations ransacked across the country.