ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to Guinea-Bissau's presidential election on Tuesday disclosed that the election was "conducted in peace and security necessary for the free expression of suffrage."
"The AUEOM congratulates the Bissau Guinean people for their political maturity and for their ownership of the electoral process. It noted that the vote was conducted in peace and security necessary for the free expression of suffrage," the AUEOM to Guinea-Bissau said in its preliminary election outcome statement issued late Tuesday.
"Notwithstanding the few rare incidents, the election campaign and the vote went on hitch-free over the entire national territory. Overall, the election was free, regular and transparent," the 55-member pan African bloc's election observation mission disclosed.
The AU, which deployed a high-level observation mission to Guinea-Bissau that was led by the Sao Tome and Principe's former Prime Minister Joaquim Raphael Branco, also stressed that the second round of the presidential election on December 29 "marks a decisive milestone in the country's political history. Bissau Guineans voted in calm and serenity."
The AUEOM also noted that the delegates of candidates, who were mostly youths, were present in all the polling stations visited, and that they "displayed a proper mastery of procedures. They were in possession of voter lists which permitted them to better follow-up and verify the voting."
Since no candidate won more than 50 percent of the ballots during the first round that was held on Nov. 24, the top two candidates, Domingos Simoes Pereira, candidate of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, and Umaro Sissoco Embalo, supported by the Movement for Democratic Alternation, competed on Sunday for the presidency of Guinea-Bissau for the next five years period.
The National Election Commission (NEC) of Guinea-Bissau had also on Sunday disclosed that the results presidential election would be announced on Jan. 1, as it urged the candidates not to disclose election results, since "the publication of the results is exclusively reserved for the NEC."
The AUEOM, which welcomed "the spirit of patriotism and fair play of the candidates in the election," also on Tuesday called for calm and restraint while they await the announcement of the results.
The preliminary election outcome statement also urged the Guinea-Bissau government and the National Popular Assembly to work towards the preservation of social peace and national unity, reinforce the means of NEC to enable it to better accomplish its missions, as well as to improve the voter registration system.
It also called on the NEC to reinforce and harmonize the monitoring of electoral personnel in the polling stations on the entire national territory, while the presidential candidates have been also urged to resort to legal means in the case of election contests, promote gender balance and youth involvement in politics, give priority to consensus and the competition of ideas, as well as to endeavor to avoid conflicts of identity;
The AUEOM also called on the international community to continue its support to Guinea-Bissau in its effort to consolidate the achievements of democracy in order to engender peace, stability, the rule of law and sustainable development.