Guinea junta names civilian prime minister


  • World
  • Tuesday, 30 Dec 2008

MYT 2:18:33 AM

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's ruling military junta named banker Kabine Komara as prime minister on Tuesday, a week after it took control of the West African bauxite exporter.

The National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), which seized power on the death of President Lansana Conte, had promised to appoint a civilian prime minister.

Its leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, has said he will not seek election to the presidency.

"Kabine Komara, former administrator at Eximbank, is named prime minister," said a CNDD statement broadcast on state radio, referring to the Egypt-based African Export-Import Bank.

Analysts say power remains concentrated in the hands of the military, and a key test of the CNDD's adherence to its rhetoric of reform will be the speed with which elections are organised.

The CNDD has pledged to hold elections in 2010, and named as one of its priorities fighting the corruption it said had become endemic under Conte.

"Kabine Komara is a competent man who has experience of administration and who knows the country," said Sekou Konate, general secretary of former ruling political party the Progress and Unity Party. "The junta has chosen him to assure the transition."

Komara arrived in Guinea late on Tuesday, and travelled to the Alpha Yaya Diallo military camp in Conakry, used as a base by Camara.

Neighbouring Senegal has endorsed the new administration, but the international community has demanded a return to constitutional rule.

On Monday, the African Union suspended Guinea, and the United States and European Union have condemned the military takeover, though Camara's coup has met with little internal opposition.

APPEAL FOR HELP

After meeting foreign ambassadors on Tuesday, Camara again appealed for international support for his fledgling government.

"You must help us put in place all the democratic principles, in a lasting manner," he said.

The Mauritanian ambassador said he supported the new Guinean authorities, and asked for more understanding of both Guinea and Mauritania, whose first democratically elected government was toppled by a military coup in August.

The CNDD, a group of young officers, is cementing its grip on power, having already appointed its members as defence and security ministers, and ordered 21 generals into retirement.

Listed as a senior director for projects and administrative services by African Export-Import Bank's website, Komara was one of the four men proposed as prime minister by unions after violent anti-government protests in 2007.

Local politicians said it was too early to tell what the appointment meant for Guinea.

"We are waiting for the composition of the government and for what the new prime minister says," said Sidya Toure, president of opposition party the Union of Republican Forces.

International mining firms such as Rio Tinto, Alcoa and United Company Rusal have invested billions in Guinea, the world's biggest exporter of aluminium ore bauxite, a gold producer and potentially a major source of iron ore.

The CNDD has said it will review the state's contracts with mining firms, without naming any companies or giving details.

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