Guinean President Alpha Condé enacted a controversial new constitution on Monday that critics say may allow the leader – in power since 2010 – to seek a third term in office.
The constitution was approved last month by the vast majority of voters in a delayed referendum that took place despite an opposition boycott and the emergence of the country’s first two COVID-19 cases.
82-year-old Condé says the constitution will help the country introduce new social reforms, particularly for women. But opponents say it will reset presidential term limits, enabling him to govern for an additional 12 years.
More than 30 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since widespread demonstrations against the constitution began late last year, according to Human Rights Watch.
An opposition umbrella group known as the FNDC said at least 10 more were killed on the day of the referendum.
Condé was the first democratically elected leader of Guinea, a West African nation with a history of coups, authoritarian leaders, and deadly crackdowns on opposition supporters.
On Monday, the president said he had approved a $315 million economic response plan to help fight coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in the country passed 120.
– Philip Kleinfeld