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 the country.
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.