Guinea has had a history of authoritarian rule since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Lansana CONTE came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after the death of the first president, Sekou TOURE. Guinea did not hold democratic elections until 1993 when Gen. CONTE (head of the military government) was elected president of the civilian government. He was reelected in 1998 and again in 2003, though all the polls were marred by irregularities. History repeated itself in December 2008 when following President CONTE's death, Capt. Moussa Dadis CAMARA led a military coup, seizing power and suspending the constitution as well as political and union activity.
Guinea has maintained some semblance of internal stability despite spillover effects from conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Demonstrators outside the Permanent United Nations Mission of the Republic of Guinea, 140 east 39th street, New York, NY 10016. September 29, 2009. Video courtesy Public Domain Audio Video
As those countries have rebuilt, however, Guinea's own vulnerability to political and economic crisis has increased. Declining economic conditions and popular dissatisfaction with corruption and bad governance prompted two massive strikes in 2006, and a third nationwide strike in early 2007.
TEXT: Central Intelligence Agency