Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the elections in Nigeria

8953/07 (Presse 95)
P 036/07

Brussels, 27 April 2007 - The European Union (EU) is disappointed that the elections held on 14 and 21 April did not represent a significant progress in relation to 2003 elections in spite of the improvements provided by in the Electoral Act 2006. The EU is deeply concerned that these elections were marred by many irregularities and by violent incidents resulting in a high toll of victims. The EU expects that the persons responsible for this violence will be brought to justice.

In many states there were serious organisational problems, including late arrival of ballot papers. There were also well-substantiated reports of attempts to rig the voting. And there was evidence that the results at the polling stations were distorted after the count.

The EU considers that there are sufficient provisions in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and the 2006 Electoral Act to legally solve the irregularities and commends the independence shown by the Judiciary and in particular the newly established mechanisms developed by the Courts of Appeal. The EU calls on all political actors to use peaceful means and to demonstrate responsibility by strictly using the legal procedures and not to fail the people of Nigeria. The EU looks to INEC and others to quickly provide the evidence which the electoral tribunals will need in order to complete their work as swiftly as possible. The EU also hopes that the Nigerian authorities will look sympathetically at the case for re-runs where there is proven evidence of serious electoral malpractice.

Nevertheless the EU appreciates the commitment of the poll workers and recognises the efforts of the police and the military. The EU particularly commends the engagement of civil society organisations. The EU also notes the observations made by national and international observers, including the EU Election Observer Mission, that the elections ran well in some States and Local Government Areas or Districts.

Considering the determination of the Nigerian people to exercise their fundamental democratic right to vote, the EU remains committed to foster its engagement and dialogue with Nigerians in order to strengthen our mutual endeavour for good governance and democracy.

The EU is ready to engage into a dialogue with Nigeria, in particular in cooperation with ECOWAS, but also with the AU, the UN and the international community at large, with a view to support Nigeria to overcome post elections difficulties and to take into account lessons learnt in view of the next elections.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.