Guinea: Ban calls for resolution of obstacles to presidential election run-off

13 Oct 2010

Guinea: Ban calls for resolution of obstacles to presidential election run-off

16 September 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on authorities in Guinea to swiftly resolve all technical and logistical obstacles to holding the run-off round of presidential polls – which has just been postponed by electoral officials – so it can be staged as soon as possible.

Mr. Ban noted the decision yesterday of Guinean electoral authorities to delay the run-off, originally scheduled to take place this Sunday, citing technical reasons, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Addressing any outstanding technical or logistical challenges is now vital "to create the conditions necessary for the holding of transparent and credible elections as soon as possible," the statement noted.

Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Conde will contest the run-off after they scored the highest number of votes of 24 candidates who entered the first round in June, widely considered to be the first free elections in a country plagued by misrule and dictatorship since independence in 1958.

In his statement Mr. Ban warned that anyone who tries to "disrupt an orderly and peaceful transition... would be held accountable by Guineans and by the international community as a whole."

He urged Guineans to exercise utmost restraint during the remainder of the presidential campaign and to refrain from violence or acts of incitement.

Violent clashes on the weekend in the capital, Conakry, claimed at least one life and injured dozens of others.

The head of Guinea's electoral commission also reportedly died overnight on Monday, a week after being convicted of falsifying results in the first round of the presidential ballot.

Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, is holding consultations by phone with the key stakeholders in Guinea, including the two presidential candidates, members of the Government, electoral authorities and the UN Country Team as part of the UN's role to support efforts to resolve the current crisis.

He is also speaking with his counterparts from the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to coordinate their response.

Mr. Djinnit was to travel today to Guinea but he postponed his visit to allow for consultations. He travelled instead to Abuja, Nigeria, to further discuss the issue with AU and ECOWAS on the margin of an ECOWAS summit. He is expected to make a high-level visit in the coming days.

Yesterday he voiced concern to the UN News Centre about the recent violence and political tensions and urged Guinea's political parties not to waste the opportunities to make progress.