Guinea - Government

Guinea is a multi-party republic with a semi-authoritarian executive. Guinea's first constitution took effect on 12 November 1958 and was substantially amended in 1963 and 1974. Under the new constitution promulgated in May 1982 (but suspended in the military coup of April 1984), sovereignty was declared to rest with the people and to be exercised by their representatives in the Guinea Democratic Party (PDG), the only legal political party. Party and state were declared to be one and indivisible. The head of state was the president, elected for a seven-year term by universal adult suffrage (at age 18). A national assembly of 210 members was elected in 1980 from a single national list presented by the PDG; the announced term was five years, although the 1982 constitution and its precursors stipulated a term of seven (the assembly was dissolved after four years, in 1984). The constitution gave Assembly members control of the budget and, with the president, the responsibility to initiate and formulate laws.

Under the Touré regime there was no separation of functions or powers. The legislature, the cabinet, and the national administration were subordinate to the PDG in the direction and control of the nation. The assembly served mainly to ratify the decisions of the PDG's Political Bureau, headed by Touré, who was also president of the republic and secretary-general of the PDG; the assembly and the cabinet (appointed by Touré) implemented the decisions and orders of the party arrived at by the party congress, national conference, and the Political Bureau. Locally, PDG and government authority were synonymous.

The armed forces leaders who seized power after Touré's death ruled Guinea through the Military Committee for National Recovery (CMRN). Following the adoption by referendum of a new constitution on 21 December 1990, the CMRN was dissolved and a Transitional Committee of National Recovery (CTRN) was set up in February 1991 as the country's legislative body.

In 1993, the government created a 114-member national assembly. The assembly members are elected for a term of four years, 38 members in single-district constituencies, and 76 members by proportional representation. In July 1996, Lansana Conté created the post of prime minister, which presently is occupied by his confidante, former Supreme Court chief justice, Lamine Sidimé. In December 2002, Conté reshuffled his cabinet.

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