(Corrects date of election to July 8, not July 18)
By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY, March 1 (Reuters) - Guinea’s electoral commission said on Thursday it would hold its delayed parliamentary election on July 8, a vote that could help the West African state unblock donor aid potentially worth billions of dollars.
The legislative poll, which had been due last December, should mark the final step in Guinea’s transition from military to civilian rule. The European Union has said it will only resume full cooperation with Guinea after the polls are held.
Guinea is the world’s largest supplier of the aluminum ore bauxite, but decades of political turmoil since independence from France have curbed broader investment and left most of its people in poverty.
Announcing the date, electoral commission chief Louceny Camara told a news conference: “It seems essential to end the long wait for candidates, the population and the government regarding the scheduling of the legislative election”.
The country ended two years of rule by a military junta with presidential elections in late 2010, which brought President Alpha Conde to power. However he had to delay the legislative election after the opposition threatened a boycott.
At least three people died and 300 were injured in September as security forces put down an opposition protest over the original timing of the election, as well as concern Conde was rigging voter lists.
Conde, who must ratify the new date, has since opened talks with the opposition over how to hold the vote. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Ben Harding)