Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Conté seized power in a military coup on April 3, 1984, a week after the death of President Ahmed Sékou Touré. He survived coup attempts against him in 1985 and 1996. In the early 1990s, unrest forced him to accept political reforms that led to multiparty elections (which he won with 51.7% of the vote) in 1993, but in the years since he has once again consolidated his authoritarian rule. In 2001 he eliminated the constitutional restrictions on his remaining in office for life and lengthened presidential terms to seven years through a referendum widely regarded as rigged. He went on to win a presidential election in December of 2003 with 95.3% of the vote after all but one of the opposing candidates boycotted the race, expressing their belief that Conté would never allow a fair election. Conté has been in declining health in recent years and his ability to survive another full term in office has been doubted.
On January 19, 2005, shots were reportedly fired at his motorcade on its way into Conakry in what was apparently a failed assassination attempt. Conté, who was unharmed, subsequently went on state radio and television to say that he had survived because God had not yet decided it was his time to die. He also condemned those who he said sought to thwart Guinea's development. 
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