Guinea picks President Conde ally to head parliament

by Reuters
Monday, 13 January 2014 19:02 GMT

* Economist Kondiano to become parliament's president

* Political uncertainty, violence deterred investors

CONAKRY, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Economist Claude Kory Kondiano was elected president of Guinea's parliament on Monday, completing a rocky transition back to democracy after a 2008 military coup.

Kondiano, a 72-year-old parliamentarian from President Alpha Conde's ruling RPG party, won 64 votes in a ballot in parliament on Monday against opposition candidate Marie Anne Fofana, who took 48 votes.

Foreign donors such as the European Union had suspended cooperation with the West African state until the completion of the transition.

Conde came to power after a 2010 election, but the parliamentary vote was repeatedly delayed. Violence surrounding the election dampened investor interest in Guinea's mineral wealth which includes bauxite, iron ore, diamonds and gold.

More than 50 people were killed in pre-election protests.

The ruling RPG took 53 seats in the Sept. 28 election, defeating its rivals but falling short of an absolute majority in the 114-seat parliament. Although opposition parties said the election was flawed, they decided to take their seats in parliament, easing political uncertainty.

"We hope that this will allow parliament to move forward with the many issues that have been kept on hold," said former prime minister Siyda Toure, a senior opposition member of parliament, adding: "We hope that the various commissions will be set up to start work seriously." (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Emma Farge and Ruth Pitchford)

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