AU, UN urge calm ahead of presidential election in Guinea-Bissau

 The African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and African regional economic communities on Tuesday urged all political actors in Guinea-Bissau to resolve any disputes through discussions as the West African country is set to hold presidential election in November this year.

 The joint call was made by the AU, UN, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) in a joint press statement after officials of the four organisations visited Guinea-Bissau this week.

 “The joint mission urges the political actors in Guinea-Bissau to pursue their efforts towards the preparation and the adoption of a code of conduct and to commit to respecting it,” the joint statement issued on Tuesday read.

It also urged “all political actors in Guinea-Bissau, where necessary, to avail themselves of the available legal mechanisms in order to resolve any electoral disputes”.

The joint mission, which emphasised that “hate speech and incitement to acts of violence and aggression must be proscribed”, also stressed the need to overcome mistrust in order to consolidate peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau and reassure all relevant stakeholders of all eventual technical support.

 The West African country held legislative elections on March 10, 2019, after two postponements in 2018. However, renewed political tensions delayed the formation of a new government. The situation was further complicated by the conclusion of the country’s President Jose Mario Vaz’s five-year term in office on June 23, 2019.

International efforts led to the formation of a new government on July 3 and an agreement that Mario Vaz would remain in office until the November 24 presidential poll, with limited powers, leaving the management of national affairs to the new government.

Members of the joint mission, after discussions with various stakeholders in the country, and with candidates and their representatives of the upcoming presidential election as well as representatives of political parties, also stressed the imperative “to ensure a peaceful environment for a free, inclusive, transparent, credible and peaceful presidential election”.

“All efforts should be made towards holding the first round of the presidential election scheduled for November 24, 2019, and in view of completing the electoral process on December 29, 2019, in case a second round of the presidential election is needed,” the joint mission agreed. -Xinhua

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