Sommaire: 18 April 2011, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made today the following statement on the presidential election in Nigeria:
"I welcome the spirit of calm and restraint that characterized the conduct of the April 16th presidential election in Nigeria which appears to be the most credible election since Nigeria's return to democracy in 1999. I also congratulate the Nigerian people for their determination in exercising their right to vote for the democratic future of their country.
This election is an important step forward towards consolidating democracy in Nigeria and should lead to better governance in the interest of the people of Nigeria and the broader region.
The European Union commends the continuous efforts of INEC and its Chairman to improve the electoral process. Nigeria can be proud of the dedication and commitment of the National Youth Service Corps. The security agencies also played an important role in ensuring the overall peaceful conduct of the election.
However, the EU condemns the attempts made to destabilize the process, and in particular the bomb attacks before and during the election and other violent acts. Any legitimate challenges to the declared election results should be addressed in a timely, transparent and peaceful manner. I urge all stakeholders to exercise restraint in the aftermath of the presidential election and to respect the will of the voters. I also urge them to continue working together to ensure credible and peaceful Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
I commend the contributions of international and civil society domestic observers. The independent EU Election Observation Mission, headed by Mr Alojz Peterle MEP, published its preliminary statement on April 18th."