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Summary: 18 November 2008, Brussels- Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, underlines the importance of these fourth elections in Guinea Bissau since a multi-party system was established in 1994:
“I congratulate the Bissau Guinean people and authorities for the orderly and peaceful conduct of these legislative elections. The national electoral commission administered the electoral process in a professional, independent and impartial manner in spite of major financial and technical shortcomings. I would like to thank Chief Observer Johan van Hecke, MEP, and the whole observation mission for their work. In the perspective of the presidential elections in 2010, I wish that the EU Election Observation Mission’s recommendations will help the national and electoral authorities to improve the process, namely relating to the electoral framework and the voter register.”
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, underlines the importance of these elections:
“These second national legislative elections, since the "Coup d'Etat" in 2003, represent the continuity of a key process of reforms urgently needed in Guinea Bissau. They constitute a very important step towards the consolidation of democracy and political stability. Significant progress has recently been made in this country, and I sincerely encourage the authorities and population which has been strongly mobilized during the election day, to build on the positive outcome of the elections and to continue contributing with full confidence to the consolidation of a stable, peaceful and democratic country. The EU will continue to support Guinea-Bissau’s efforts in that sense and will remain totally committed to sustain GB in its reform process and sustained developments goals”.
The European Commission deployed an EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the 16 November 2008 National Popular Assembly elections in Guinea-Bissau led by Mr. Johan van Hecke, Member of the European Parliament.
The EU EOM praises the efforts and commitment of the national electoral authorities to organize these elections in a professional manner in spite of severe financial and technical shortcomings. The Polling and counting were conduct in a transparent and peaceful way. The EU EOM has recommended further reforms namely with regard to the legal framework, the voter register and the CNE budgetary independence and normative power.
The EU EOM deployed 50 observers from 15 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 stay on the ground until early December 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.