Death of Conté
The coup took place just hours after the death of Lansana Conté.
In the early hours of 23 December 2008, Aboubacar Somparé, the President of the National Assembly, announced on television that Conté had died at 6:45 pm local time the previous day "after a long illness." While Somparé did not name the particular illness, sources reported that Conté had chronic diabetes and leukemia. According to the Constitution, the President of the National Assembly is to assume the Presidency in the event of a vacancy, and a new presidential election is to be held within 60 days. Somparé requested that the President of the Supreme Court, Lamine Sidimé, declare a vacancy in the Presidency and apply the Constitution. Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souaré and General Diarra Camara, the head of the army, stood alongside Somparé during his announcement. Declaring 40 days of national mourning for Conté, Souaré urged "calm and restraint". He told the army to secure the borders and maintain calm within the country "in homage to the memory of the illustrious late leader".
Government officials met at the People's Palace, seat of the National Assembly, in the early hours of 23 December. Prime Minister Souaré, Somparé, the President of the Supreme Court, and military leaders were present.
Speaking to Radio France Internationale after Conté's death, opposition leader Jean-Marie Doré of the Union for the Progress of Guinea stressed that the institutions of state must "be able to work to prevent unnecessary disorder in Guinea which would add to the current difficult situation".