Bissau, Guinea Bissau (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has said the presidential election held in Guinea Bissau last Sunday was conducted under ''acceptable conditions of freedom and transparency''.
In a preliminary report issued here Monday, the 15-member regional bloc said there were no major obstacles or incidents that could render the voting process irregular.
It however noted that delays were noted in some polling stations due mainly to logistical problems and the transportation of material.
As part of its efforts to support Member States in their process of consolidating democracy and good governance, ECOWAS deployed 80 observers, led by former President of Niger's Transitional Government Salou Djibo, for the elections, which followed the death in January of President Malam Bacai Sanha after a long illness.
In its preliminary report, the ECOWAS Observation Mission took note of the commitment of all the stakeholders in preserving the integrity of the electoral process, in compliance with the time-frame laid down by the constitution; the measures taken to mobilize the financial, logistical and material resources for the holding of the election; the mechanism put in place to secure the electoral process, particularly through the setting-up of a Joint Command (Police, National Guard, Army) to maintain security and order, and the peaceful environment that prevailed during the electoral campaign, despite the concerns raised, among others, to unequal access to the public media.
It also noted the orderliness that prevailed throughout the voting process; the availability of adequate voting materials in most of the polling stations; the professionalism displayed by the electoral officers and their ability to facilitate voting operations; the varying presence
of representatives of candidates in most of the polling stations; the discreet patrol by law enforcement officers around the polling areas; and the smooth process of counting and collating of votes in accordance with the electoral law.
The Mission in particular commended the National Electoral Commission for the successful organization of the election despite the limited time-frame prescribed by the Constitution, adding that the election was fundamental not only for the consolidation of democratic governance in Guinea Bissau, but also for national cohesion and reconstruction.
ECOWAS urged all candidates to resort to legal channels for the settlement of any electoral dispute that may arise.
-0- PANA SEG 20Mar2012