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World News

Veteran Guinea opposition leader to challenge President Conde in October election

FILE PHOTO: Former prime minister and presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo of Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), casts his vote at a polling station during a presidential election in Conakry, Guinea October 11, 2015. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea’s veteran opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo accepted the nomination on Sunday of his UFDG party to challenge President Alpha Conde, who is seeking a third term in an Oct. 18 election despite protests from the opposition.

Conde, 82, who defeated Diallo in a runoff in 2010, and won in the first round of the 2015 presidential election, pushed through a constitution amendment in a referendum in March that lifted a term-limit, allowing him to run again.

Diallo, whose UFDG party had joined forces with other opposition parties to lead protests against the constitutional change, has said he does not recognise the new constitution.

“To attain power, you have to participate in elections. The choice to go to an election when transparency and fairness are not guaranteed is not an easy one,” Diallo told supporters at the party convention, accepting the nomination.

Diallo, 69, served as prime minister under President Lansana Conte from 2004 to 2006. He is expected to be Conde’s toughest challenger, after another opposition leader, Sidya Toure, who came third in the 2010 and 2015 elections, said he would not participate this year.

Conde was a leading opposition figure during Conte’s 24-year rule. Conde and Diallo faced off in 2010 in Guinea’s first free national election, which Conde won with a promise for democratic and economic progress. But opponents say he has since cracked down on dissent.

Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Frances Kerry

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