The UN Security Council on Monday called on Guinea-Bissau authorities to organize the presidential and legislative elections without "further delay," urging the stakeholders to resolve outstanding issues in a peaceful manner.
In a presidential statement issued at a meeting, the council members expressed their concerns at the delay by the Guinea-Bissau authorities "in taking the necessary steps for the timely adoption and implementation of decisions towards restoring constitutional order and to organizing inclusive elections."
Presidential and legislative elections in Guinea-Bissau were slated for November but have been scheduled for March 16 next year. Constitutional order has not been restored in the West African country, which is recovering from an April 2012 coup. A transitional government led by Transitional President Serifo Nhamadjo is in place until elections are held.
In the statement, the Security Council "urges the authorities in charge of the transitional period to ensure there is no further delay or postponement that could further affect the already fragile socioeconomic, security, humanitarian and human rights situation in Guinea-Bissau."
The 15-nation council reaffirmed that it is critical the authorities and other stakeholders in Guinea-Bissau remain committed to ensuring the restoration of constitutional order in the country and further urged them to "promote the principle of consensus to resolve outstanding issues in a peaceful manner."
Expressing its grave concern at the recent deterioration of the security situation, the council stressed that "the deteriorating security situation has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the population, which, combined with the tension between the political parties, undermine an environment conducive to the holding of timely, credible, peaceful and inclusive elections."
The Security Council urged authorities in charge of the transitional period to provide the security and create the conditions conducive to the safe full and equal participation of all political actors and all sectors of the society, in particular women in the political process and calls upon all stakeholders to contribute to that effect.
The most powerful body of the UN urged the stakeholders, including political and military leaders to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process and the implementation of reforms, which are key to the long-term stability of Guinea-Bissau.