May 21, 2018 / 10:16 PM / a month ago

Guinea's Conde names new PM amid rising political tensions

CONAKRY, May 21 (Reuters) - Guinea President Alpha Conde on Monday named Ibrahima Kassory Fofana as the country’s new prime minister amid heightened political tensions and suspicion about his intentions ahead of a 2020 election.

Fofana, a Conde loyalist and former minister of investment and public-private partnerships, replaces Mamady Youla, who resigned last week along with his government, according to a decree read on state television.

About 10 people died when riots erupted in the capital Conakry and other cities in February and March following local elections that the opposition said were marred by fraud.

Conde’s opponents also fear he intends to try to modify the constitution to stand for a third term in 2020. Conde has not yet commented on his intentions.

He did not provide an explanation for the latest government shakeup, but an official at the presidency, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the president “wanted an experienced man capable of making decisions”.

Conde’s government has also faced repeated protests by civil servants and residents of mining towns, who complain that the country’s rich mineral deposits have not translated into improved public services or job opportunities.

Guinea is Africa’s top producer of bauxite, which is used to make aluminium. It also has significant reserves of iron ore. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; writing by Aaron Ross, editing by G Crosse)

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