Lansana Conté

Conté, Lansana (länsäˈnä cōNtāˈ) [key], 1934–2008, Guinean political leader and military officer. Conté enlisted in the French army in 1955 and served in Algeria. Returning to Guinea in 1958 after his homeland's independence, he rose through the ranks to become army chief of staff (1975) and lieutenant colonel (1982). In 1984 he led a coup following President Sékou Touré's death and became president. He retained power until his death, surviving three attempted coups and winning reelection from 1993 on in multiparty balloting that failed to meet democratic standards. Conté, who was made a general in 1990, ruled over a nation that became increasingly impoverished as the government became increasingly corrupt.

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