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Guinea: UN Calls for Continued Restraint After Delay in Presidential Election Results

Posted by Admin on Jul 3rd, 2010 and filed under Afrique. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

UN News Service (New York)|3 July 2010|UN News Service (New York)|

Ben Sekou Sylla, president of Guinea's electoral commission, speaks during a news conference in Conakry June 30, 2010. Guinea's Supreme Court gave election authorities a further 48 hours on Wednesday to publish provisional results from Sunday's presidential election, citing logistical and other problems. The electoral commission blamed the delay on practical difficulties collecting and counting ballot papers, but also said it was aware of incidents of fraud. (REUTERS/Luc Gnago)

The top United Nations official in West Africa has urged Guinea‘s presidential candidates and their supporters to continue to show restraint ahead of the much anticipated release of results from the country’s first democratic elections since it gained independence more than half a century ago.

Provisional results from Guinea’s independent electoral commission could be released today after they were delayed by 48 hours this week because of logistical, transport and security difficulties.

Media reports say that tensions are rising in the impoverished country as the people wait for the results from Sunday’s vote in which 24 candidates competed for president. The ballot was considered to be the first free election in Guinea, whose history since independence in 1958 has been marked by a series of coups and military or autocratic regimes.

Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, issued a statement yesterday in which he called on all political parties to continue to respect their commitments to a peaceful process and to only use legal channels to resolve any disputes they may have about the results.

“I urge all candidates and their supporters to continue to show restraint and civility to preserve the atmosphere of calm and serenity that prevails in the country,” he said from Dakar, where his office is based.

The statement echoed remarks this week from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who praised Guineans for the peaceful staging of the polls, which took place less than a year after members of the military forces shot more than 150 unarmed demonstrators who had been participating in a peaceful pro-democracy protest on the streets of the capital, Conakry. Countless others were sexually assaulted or otherwise physically attacked.

International condemnation, including from senior UN officials, followed and a Government of national unity was established in January as part of a transition to a more democratic order.

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