Path: ICPP > ICPP 1980 > List of Countries > Guinea
Kenneth Janda
Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey
New York: The Free Press, 1980: pp. 925-926
GUINEA: The Party System in 1950-1956 and 1957-1962
(Text as published in 1980 citation above)

Guinea was governed as a French colony prior to 1900 and through World War Il. Under the French constitution of 1946, Guinea was given two seats in the National Assembly to be chosen by a restricted electorate, and a territorial assembly was created with budgetary responsibilities. The movement for greater independence from France involved both labor union and political party activity. The Guinean branch of the Confédération Général des Travailleurs (CGT), the communist-dominated French labor union, was led by Sékou Touré. The interterritorial party, the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA), had a Guinean section by 1947. Both the union and the party, called the Parti Démocratique de Guinée (PDG), pressed their demands upon the French administration, which was especially fearful of communist influence in both organizations.

By 1951, the RDA, under the leadership of Felix Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, had broken with the communists, and Touré had asserted the autonomy of his union from European control. By 1952, Touré was in control of the PDG as well as the union, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 1956. Under Touré 's leadership, the PDG eventually became a powerful mass movement challenging the French government and ready to assume control of the country with the granting of internal autonomy made possible by the 1956 loi cadre, which expanded the suffrage and extended new powers to the territorial assembly.

The PDG won 56 of 60 seats in the 1957 elections for the legislative assembly, and by the end of the year, Touré became vice president of the governmental council of Guinea, which amounted to the head of state under the new structure. When confronted with the opportunity to vote on membership in the French community in the September 1958 referendum, Guinea became the only French colony to opt for independence. In November 1958, a constitution was adopted that provided for a presidential system of government. Touré was named president by the assembly. In December, all opposition parties fused with the PDG and Guinea became officially a one-party state.

Continuity and Change since 1962

The graph for Guinea invites little comment. Declared a single-party state in 1958, Guinea remains a single-party state. The original party continues; no new parties have been formed.

Original Party, Continuing

821 Democratic Party. Still led by Sekou Toure, the PDG in 1978 not only has a monopoly of seats in the national assembly, but the party's own National Congress has been declared the supreme national body.


Most of the credit for Guinea's stability must be given to Sekou Toure, who has exercised rigorous control over the party and the nation. The PDG is also credited as a strong institution in its own right, but, then, so was Nkrumah's Convention People's Party. The institutionalization of the PDG will be truly tested only in the absence of Sekou Toure.

[For party politics in Guinea since 1962, go to the essay by Michael J. Faber]

1. Our study of party politics in Guinea is based on a file of 748 pages from 40 documents, all of which are in English. The Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG, code 821) is the only party in our study. It is referenced on 461 pages, which amounts to 62 percent of the file. The bibliographic search and indexing of material for the file was done by Wesley Skogan. William Goodman used the file to code the PDG on the variables in the ICPP conceptual framework. He was assisted by Peggy Mulville. Kay Lawson was our consultant.