Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 17:26 UK

New delay to landmark Guinea poll

By Will Ross
BBC West Africa correspondent

Map of Guinea

Parliamentary elections have been postponed in Guinea - the third delay to what are due to be the first free legislative polls in 50 years.

Guinea's electoral commissioner said December's polls could not take place because preparations were not complete.

That is an understatement as the registering of voters has not begun.

These parliamentary elections were due in 2006 but many Guineans must now be wondering if they will ever get a chance to vote.

The delay last year was inevitable following the violent protests in which more than 130 demonstrators were shot dead.

President Lansana Conte has been in poor health for several years and governance has been chaotic.

Not surprisingly, most Guineans are thoroughly fed up with the political leadership in what is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Guinea's parliamentarians are overwhelmingly from the president's party and most would struggle to retain their seats in a free and fair election and so these endless delays suit them.

After all, if you risk losing your power in a vote, you may be better off without an election.

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