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Election A Hopeful Sign For Guinea-Bissau


A photo taken April 13, 2014 shows people lining up at a poling station to cast their votes in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

The votes have been counted in the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, following the successful completion of what is widely seen as peaceful and orderly first-round elections April 13.

The votes have been counted in the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, following the successful completion of what is widely seen as peaceful and orderly first-round elections April 13.

Turnout was heavy as voters flocked to the polls in large numbers to have their voices heard in the first balloting since interim President Raimundo Pereira was forced from office in 2012. International observers noted isolated problems in certain areas, such as a shortage of paper ballots at some polls, but they said these did not impair the overall conduct of the voting.

Results of the first round of votes cast for a new president and members of Parliament came in April 16. As none of the 13 candidates for president won an outright majority, a second round will be held between the top two.

The United States congratulates the Bissau-Guinean people for their patience and civic engagement, and we also commend the hard work of the thousands of citizens who manned the more than 3,000 voting stations spread across the country.

Their dedicated efforts are powerful testimony of their strong desire for constitutional and democratic government. The nation’s security services also should be recognized for their professional conduct on Election Day. We encourage them to continue to uphold those standards throughout the transition period as a newly-elected government takes office.

The United States looks forward to working with Guinea-Bissau as it seeks to return to democratic rule and to achieving lasting peace for the region. We urge the nation’s rulers, both military and civilian, to hear the people’s voice and bring the political transition period to a successful conclusion.
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