Summary: 30 June 2009, Brussels - Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, underlines the importance of these presidential elections for the consolidation of the democratic process in Guinea Bissau:
"I congratulate the people of Guinea Bissau, who have demonstrated their aspiration for democracy as well as the authorities for the orderly and peaceful conduct of these presidential elections, which took place in a very delicate political context. Furthermore, I commend the newly appointed national electoral commission for the professional manner in which they administered the electoral process in spite of the major time constraint. Our hope is that these elections lead Guinea Bissau
towards increased political stability and further progress in the consolidation of its democratic process. I would also like to thank Chief Observer Johan van Hecke, Member of the European Parliament, and the whole observation mission for their work."
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid added:
"This election/the first round of the Presidential election shows that the people and the authorities of Guinea Bissau are committed to a full restoration of the normal functioning of the country's institutions, after the tragic events of last March and early June. The Commission calls on the authorities to do their utmost to ensure a smooth second round on the 2nd of August so that the new President of Guinea Bissau can, with a clear mandate from the people, take up the difficult task of dealing with the many challenges that face the country, including reforming the security sector and ending impunity. I would like to reassure the people and the authorities of Guinea-Bissau that the European Commission will continue to support their efforts in these areas."
The European Commission deployed an EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) led by Johan van Hecke for the 28 June 2009 presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau.
While, the mission did not expect major changes compared to the recent legislatives elections held in November 2008, it praised the efforts and commitment of the national electoral authorities to organise these elections in a professional manner. The polling and counting were conduct in a transparent and peaceful way. The EU EOM reported the same weaknesses as last November namely with regard to the legal framework, the voter register and the CNE budgetary independence and normative power.
The EU EOM deployed some 20 observers from 14 EU Member States to the nine regions of Guinea-Bissau to observe and assess the electoral process in accordance with international standards for elections and the laws of Guinea-Bissau. The EOM will follow a possible second round in July and stay on the ground until the end of the process to observe tabulation of results and post-election developments. A final report covering the whole electoral process including recommendations for future elections will be published by the EU EOM in the coming months.