Ahead of Guinea-Bissau polls, UN chief urges high turnout, peaceful vote

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Civic education officials visit communities to explain voting procedures ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on 13 April, 2014 © UNDP Guinea Bissau

17 May 2014 – On the eve of run-off presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged voters to show the same sense of civic duty exhibited during the first round of the polls “by turning out in large numbers and in a peaceful manner.”

“The Secretary-General continues to follow closely the situation on the eve of the 18 May, run off election…which is expected to bring the transition period to an end,” said a statement issued last evening by Mr. Ban's spokesperson in New York.

“He commends all national stakeholders for their efforts to ensure a credible electoral process, and the two presidential candidates for having conducted a peaceful and orderly electoral campaign,” it continued, adding that the Secretary-General lauds the generous support of international partners in the electoral process.

“In casting their votes on 18 May, Bissau-Guineans will take another step towards stability,” said the statement, noting that Mr. Ban urges voters to show the same sense of civic duty exhibited in mid-April during the first round of presidential and legislative elections.

In phone calls yesterday with Nuno Gomes Nabiam and José Mario Vaz, the Secretary-General urged both presidential candidates to respect the official results and follow existing legal procedures to resolve any electoral disputes.

“He trusts that both candidates will be guided by the best interest of the country, independently of the results,” said the statement, underscoring that the UN will continue to support the people of Guinea-Bissau as they conclude the transition, and begin the process of working towards re-building the State and promoting stability and sustainable development.