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ECOWAS Will Help Guinea Organize Credible Elections, Says Official

Peter Clottey | Washington, DC 19 January 2010

An official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says the regional body is ready to help Guinea organize a credible election within the next six months.

ECOWAS Political Director Abdel-Fatau Musah said the regional body will provide financial and technical assistance to ensure Guinea’s upcoming election meets international standards.

“ECOWAS right from the beginning has been very supportive&hellipunder ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol and Democracy and Good Governance, ECOWAS is obligated to assist member states organizing elections … ECOWAS already had advanced an amount of half a million dollars, even before this crisis began, in aid of the Independent Electoral Commission of Guinea in the preparation for the election,” he said.

Guinea’s military junta named long-time opposition leader Jean-Marie Dore as prime minister of a transitional government tasked with organizing elections that will return the country to constitutional rule.

Musah said the regional body helped Guinea’s electoral body in its recent voter registration drive.

“The voter registration exercise was 80 percent complete at the time of the 28th September (2009) massacre in Conakry. So, we had done a lot already… we are going to make sure that we leave no stone unturned in our effort to make sure credible elections are held in Guinea,” Musah said.

Guinea’s opposition coalition otherwise known as “Forces Vives” nominated Jean-Marie Dore as prime minister after an agreement with the military junta in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

As part of the agreement, a transitional government once formed, will organize a general election within six months to return the country to democracy.

Musah said the regional body has demanded a return to civilian rule.

“All what is happening in Guinea today is exactly the demands of the ECOWAS commission on the Guinean authorities to set up a new transitional authority get a prime minister from among the Forces Vives to move very steadily towards the holding of these elections,” Musah said.

He said an international community team that includes ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations will be in Guinea in the coming days to monitor the ongoing political situation in that country.

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