The Carter Center election observation mission in Guinea is heartened by the Independent National Electoral Commission's (CENI) announcement recommending that the country's delayed run-off presidential election should be held on Oct. 10.
For the sake of the people of Guinea, and to allow orderly preparations by candidates, political parties, election officials, the media, and both domestic and foreign observers, the Center hopes this date will be made official very soon. Both presidential candidates must now confirm their approval, and then President Sékouba Konaté must sign a decree formalizing the day of voting.
The Center remains hopeful that CENI will take full advantage of the interim period to fully resolve the critical technical and logistical issues that hampered the first round of elections. Center observers will monitor distribution of the alpha-numeric voter cards prior to voting day, posting of voters lists throughout the country, allocation of polling stations, poll worker training, and all arrangements regarding the transparency of ballot counting and orderly transmission of voting results.
The Carter Center welcomes CENI's plans to post voting results at each polling station and to establish reception centers run by trained staff to properly record and process official vote tallies and to receive ballot boxes at prefectoral and communal centralization centers. If fully implemented, these measures should go a long way toward alleviating many of the serious shortcomings displayed during the June 27, 2010, first-round elections. Because of numerous challenges facing those involved in moving the electoral process to a peaceful and successful conclusion, The Carter Center encourages CENI to act as a strong independent body and concentrate its energies on overcoming remaining logistical and technical challenges.
Eight Carter Center long-term observers have been deployed throughout the country to monitor and document the electoral environment and preparations since May 2010. They have reported that citizens in their regions have been patiently waiting the second round election.
For the runoff election, the Center again will deploy a 30-person delegation led by General Dr. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria's former head of state, and Dr. John Stremlau, Carter Center vice president for peace programs.
In this heated electoral climate, The Carter Center urges political parties, their supporters, and the people of Guinea to remain calm and retain their commitment to holding peaceful elections. The Center strongly commends both presidential candidates for signing in Ouagadougou the Protocol for a Peaceful Election on Sept. 3, 2010, and encourages them to respect their commitments laid out in the Protocol and in the Code of Conduct for Political Parties, throughout the electoral process as well as afterward. Only if all political leaders fully embrace their responsibilities can they guarantee the people of Guinea a non-confrontational transition to democratic civilian rule and the hope for a peaceful and more prosperous future.
The Carter Center's election observation mission to Guinea is conducted in full accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, and assessments are made against Guinea's domestic law and international obligations for democratic elections. For the full history of public and press statements on Guinea, please visit: www.cartercenter.org
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.