15 March 2012 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all actors in Guinea-Bissau to ensure a peaceful and transparent election as voters go to the polls on Sunday to choose a new president.
Nine candidates, including former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala, are reportedly competing in the election, which is taking place two months after the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá, who died following a long illness.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban appealed to national stakeholders, including the Government, political parties, civil society and the population as a whole, to ensure that the poll takes place in a peaceful, orderly and transparent manner.
“He calls on the candidates to follow existing legal procedures to resolve any electoral grievances that might arise and to respect the official results announced by the Supreme Court,” the statement said.
Mr. Ban also reaffirmed the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support national efforts towards sustainable peacebuilding, socio-economic development and respect for the rule of law.
The UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) has been in place since 2009 and is tasked with helping to restore stability to the troubled country, which has been beset by coups, misrule and political instability since it gained independence from Portugal in the early 1970s.
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