Presidential elections in Guinea: electoral disputes should be settled through legal channels

Press release
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(Paris, Conakry) Our organisations are greatly concerned about the ongoing tensions that followed the first round of the presidential elections held on October 11, 2015 and the call for protest against the results, which will be made public on October 17, 2015. Our organisations are therefore urging all the political actors to show restraint and to settle their differences through legal channels.

“Any dispute about the fairness of the elections and/or the validity of the results, must be submitted to the only body empowered to settle election-related disagreements: the Constitutional Court. Taking these disagreements to the streets would only add violence to the current state of tension; this goes against the spirit of democracy displayed by the entire political class when it voted last Sunday.”

Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH Honorary President

Since the first round held relatively peacefully on Sunday 11, October 2015, tension has erupted especially in the capital. Several candidates, including Sydia Toure (UFR) and Cellou Dalein Diallo (UFDG) announced that they were withdrawing from the electoral process because of alleged fraud.

Pending the consolidation of the results and the findings of the international observers, especially from the African Union and the European Union, who were sent to Guinea to evaluate the electoral process, our organisations consider that the precarious conditions under which this election was organised require immediate implementation of the technical reforms recommended by the various electoral observation missions since 2010. In view of future local and legislative elections, it is crucial that the institutional and normative framework be consolidated in order to regain the Guineans’ trust in State institutions and to contain electoral disputes.

“The tension underlying the Guinean political debate is particularly alarming and could explode if State institutions are not strengthened. The citizens of Guinea should be able to perceive the judiciary, the security forces and the administration as neutral, and apolitical bodies with regards to community divisions. This should be the priority of the new government.”

Drissa Traoré, lawyer and FIDH Vice President

Our organisations participated in monitoring human rights violations during the electoral period and documented the events that took place in Koundara, Mamou, Nzérékoré and Conakry during the last few weeks. More than 100 people were wounded, about 60 were arrested and at least 6 died during clashes related to the elections. Our organisations deplore the obvious community-based nature of the violence. Although they point out that numerous acts of violence have been committed by both sides, until now nearly all arrests and prosecutions have targeted supporters of the opposition parties.

“The credibility of the police and the judiciary is in line when it comes to countering violence. If they fail to do so in a just and equitable manner, activists of opposition parties would get the image of a State leaning towards one political party. It is about countering that image, in order to reinforce the rule of law and to build a judiciary that would be accepted by all.”

Frederic Foromo Loua, lawyer and President of MDT (Same Rights for All)

Without underestimating the progress made in the past few years, the climate of tension surrounding the second free presidential election in Guinea must constitute a warning sign. If the next government does not strive to overcome the causes of the inter-community distrust by strengthening the state framework shared by all the population, there is a high risk that Guinea will plunge back into political violence.

“The violence of the electoral discourses, whether they are latent or explicit, strongly underscores the need for the next government to launch an effective process of national reconciliation that our organisations have been calling for since 2010. The reconciliation of citizens and the introduction of guarantees to restore their confidence in the State, which require in-depth Governmental institutions reforms, are prerequisites to the preservation of peace in Guinea.”

said Abdoul Gadiry Diallo, the OGDH spokesperson
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