Dakar, Senegal - Guinea's upcoming legislative elections are bound to turn violent due to the ongoing ethnic divisions, a development that could render the choice of a civilian administration over a military regime null, a global conflict think-tank warned on Monday.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report that unless the government and the opposition political parties agreed talks over the pending status of the voter register, a return to violence might not be reversed before the polls.
President of Guinea's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Bakary Fofana set the elections for May 2013, but the opposition parties and the government have been tussling over key stages of the elections.
ICG said the controversy over the elections could turn into a bitter choice between the replacement of the military junta with an elected civilian government.
'The legislative elections look set to be complicated: ethnic tension, compounded by the 2010 polls, remain high and the electoral system is deeply controversial,' said Vincent Foucher, ICG's West Africa Analyst.
The Brussels-based group said credible elections were required to keep the Government in check through the election of a parliament that reflected the ethnic diversity of the West African state.
Guinean President Alpha Conde, elected in 2011 after a protracted political process that followed a military power seizure there, has been engaging the opposition in talks.
The ICG warned that unless the country held free and fair elections with the help of internationally recognized experts, Guinea's roads to political reforms might end up with no much results.
There are indications the talks have already achieved some good results, ICG analysts in West Africa said.
The talks have already resulted in the formation of the new INEC and the hammering of a new electoral timetable. However, the opposition is understood to reject the structure of the INEC and wants a revision of the list of voters.
'The President needs to set up regular meetings with the leaders of the main parties and the boards of the National Transition Council and INEC to establish a shared understanding of the electoral system,' ICG said in its report.
The group said the government must end the tensions.
'The Road to the elections will be rocky, but it is crucial to keep friction to a minimum, maintain serious dialogue between the parties and rebuild trust in the electoral apparatus,' said Gilles Yabi, the Crisis Group West Africa Director.