Ban welcoming consensus on Guinea elections urges peaceful campaign
3 November 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed a consensus reached among Guinean stakeholders that paves the way for the holding of run-off presidential election on 7 November 2010, calling on all actors to ensure the smooth conduct of the poll. “The Secretary-General calls upon the presidential candidates to uphold their commitment to conduct a peaceful campaign and to respect the outcome of the election,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky said in a statement. “He encourages all Guineans to participate in the poll,” he added.The election is the final stage of the interim Government’s efforts to restore democracy after Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in a coup in 2008 following the death of long-time president Lansana Conté.The new date for the run-off was set last week, after Guinea’s independent electoral authority cancelled a 24 October vote, citing technical difficulties that it said prevented holding the contest between Cellou Dalein Diallo and Alpha Condé, the two frontrunners.Unrest broke out in Guinea last week after the election was postponed and the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) voiced concern that security forces used excessive force to break up demonstrations, leaving at least one person dead and scores injured.According to today’s statement, the Secretary-General remains concerned over the recent violence and intimidation, calling on national and local leaders, as well as on the population as a whole, to refrain from any act or statement that may incite violence or human rights abuses. He further warned against exploiting ethnicity, religion or any other divisive factor for political ends, reiterating that those responsible for fomenting violence or violating human rights must be held accountable. “The Transitional Government of Guinea has a responsibility to protect and ensure the safety of all Guineans, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political affiliation,” Mr. Nesirky said while reaffirming the continued support of the UN system for the country in its efforts to consolidate peace and development..The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, arrived in the country’s capital, Conakry, today to help support the electoral process ahead of the 7 November poll.