1. In line with the relevant provisions of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) relating to electoral assistance to Member States holding elections, his Excellency Mr. Kadré Désiré OUEDRAOGO, President of the ECOWAS Commission, deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe and monitor the 11 October 2015 Presidential elections of the Republic of Guinea.
2. The Election Observation Mission was led by H.E. Professor Amos SAWYER, former President of the Interim Government of National Unity of Liberia. The Mission was composed of delegations of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, Ambassadors of ECOWAS Member States accredited to the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Experts from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of ECOWAS Member States, Experts from the Electoral Management Bodies of Member States, as well as delegates from Civil Society Organizations. A technical team of the ECOWAS Commission supported the Mission.
II BACKGROUND TO THE GENERAL ELECTION
3. The ECOWAS Commission had been following up on political development in the Republic of Guinea through its Early Warning Mechanism and the Office of the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Guinea. Following the directive of the 47th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Accra, Ghana, on 19 May 2015, the ECOWAS Commission dispatched a High-Level Solidarity and Information Mission to the Republic of Guinea from 18-25 July 2015. The objective of the Mission was to facilitate the creation of an enabling environment conducive for holding a peaceful and credible Presidential election, acceptable to all political stakeholders.
4. The Mission held consultations with relevant stakeholders and structures involved in the electoral process, including the Government of Guinea, Political Parties, Civil Society Groups, and International Partners. The major issues addressed at these consultations include : (i) the composition of the CENI; (ii) issues relating to the special delegation; and (iii) the electoral list. These consultations assisted in required compromises that moved the electoral process forward, leading to the Presidential election of 11 October 2015.
The outcomes include :
• The call for consultation and dialogue between the Government and leaders of political parties;
• The implementation of a framework for dialogue with the observation of the international community;
• The signing of the Agreement on Inter-Guinean Political Dialogue of 20 August 2015 involving all stakeholders in the electoral process;
• The establishment of a Technical Monitoring Committee (TMC) to oversee the process of finalization of the voters register;
• The establishment of a Committee to monitor the implementation of the Agreement.
III ASSISTANCE TO THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
5. To support the electoral process, the ECOWAS Commission undertook the following:
• Deployment of a High level Mission of Solidarity and Information in July 2015;
• Deployment of a Long Term Election Observation Mission (LTEOM) to Guinea from 21 September to 20 October 2015;
• Establishment of a situation room in Conakry as coordination centre, to serve as rapid response mechanism to ensure efficient monitoring of the electoral process;
• Provision of technical and financial support to CENI.
• Deployment of Short Term Election Observation Mission to Guinea comprising 67 members from 7 to 13 October 2015;
IV ARRIVAL OF THE HEAD OF MISSION AND CONSULTATIONS
6. On arrival, the Head of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Guinea, H.E. Professor Amos Sawyer met with key stakeholders and candidates in the Presidential election. They include the Head of State, H.E. Professor Alpha Conde; other key presidential candidates -Cellou Dalen Diallo; Sidya Toure and Lansana Kouyate. He also visited the CENI and held consultations with some Head of Diplomatic Missions. H.E. Professor Amos Sawyer appealed to all candidates to respect the measures and mechanisms put in place to ensure transparency in the electoral process and integrity of the election. He reiterated the need to respect the will and decision of the Guinean electorate. He also met with the Head of Observation Missions from the African Union, the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), and the European Union, as well as the Special Representative of the UNSG to West Africa and other UN bodies present in the country.
7. The ECOWAS Election Observation Mission notes that the election campaign took place countrywide and candidates were able to visit the various regions and prefectures to campaign for votes. It also noted that although the campaign started on a peaceful note, it progressively became tense, with violent clashes between opposing parties, especially in Koundara, Nzérékoré and Conakry, resulting in some loss of lives, injuries and destruction of properties.
VI OBSERVATION ON ELECTION DAY
8. The ECOWAS Election Observation Mission was deployed throughout the four geographical regions of the country with reports monitored in the Central Situation room in Conakry.
9. The Head of Mission visited and interacted with other situation rooms: Civil Society Organizations; the women situation room; and the ECOWAS Ambassadors’ situation room.
10. On the basis of the information gathered and initial analysis of reports received from the regions, the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission makes the following preliminary assessment of proceedings on Election Day:
a) Generally, the EOM notes that the Presidential election of 11 October 2015 in Guinea was calm, peaceful and orderly.
b) There was a large turn out of voters in most places visited;
c) The Mission observed that voting began on a largely orderly and peaceful note countrywide, between 07 h and 08 h, with the exception of certain stations in N’Zérékoré, Gonia where voting started around 11h.
d) It was also noted that necessary election materials were available at most of the polling stations. However, some polling stations did not receive the required number of envelopes. For example, in Makeba polling station in Conakry, only 50 envelops were available against 450 voters on the voter register.
e) The voters register in certain polling stations in Kindia and Kankan did not follow either alphabetical or numerical order slowing down the voting process. These cases occurred in Boiro rooms 1and 2, N’dama College and Kindia at primary school Kaliyakory as well as in Conakry, Mamou and Kankan.
f) The representatives of RPG, UFDG and UFR were present at most polling stations countrywide.
g) The predominance of women and young people were observed in many of the polling stations countrywide.
h) Security Agents were present in most of the voting centres. However, it was observed that security agents were not present in some polling stations, especially at the beginning of the voting process.
i) Sufficient provision was not made to facilitate ease of access for people with disabilities to most polling stations.
j) The patience shown by voters in earlier period of voting gradually gave way to discontentment as frustrations with the slow voting process began to manifest in some localities.
k) International observers from the African Union (AU), the European Union, the United States Embassy, OIF, as well as domestic observers from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were present in many of the polling stations.
l) The sanitization measures to forestall the spread of the Ebola virus were not observed in some polling stations.
m) Given the delay observed at the opening of polls, the INEC adjusted the closing time for the polls.
n) Counting took place immediately after the closing of poll.
11. The Mission believes that this election is decisive not only for the consolidation of democratic governance in Guinea, but also for reconciliation and national unity.
12. The Mission regrets the incidents which caused casualties. Along with the International Community, the Mission launched an appeal for calm to all the Guinean people, candidates and their supporters to refrain from all acts of violence, intimidation or provocation during this crucial phase of consolidation of peace and democracy in the best interest of the nation. It urges the candidates to refrain from announcing any interim results. The Mission urges any aggrieved party to resort exclusively to legal channels to settle any potential electoral disputes.
13. The ECOWAS Commission reiterates that peace in Guinea is very important not only for the Guinean population, but also for Member States of ECOWAS.
14. The ECOWAS EOM will continue observing the post-election developments up to the announcement of results and will convey appropriate recommendations for the continued enhancement of electoral process in our region.
Done in Conakry this day 12 October 2015
His Excellency Professor Amos SAWYER
Head of Mission