‘The electoral process doesn't end when polling stations close’

According to German MEP Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who heads the EU Election Observation Mission in Guinea, monitoring work is only just beginning after Sunday's first round of presidential elections in the former French colony.


special correspondent in Guinea


Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, 43, is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament. The German MEP is also the head of the EU Election Observations Mission (EOM) in Guinea, which is monitoring the first free elections in the country’s history. What is your assessment of the first round of this presidential poll, hailed as the first democratic election since Guinea’s independence?
Alexander Lambsdorff: Our first observation is that Guineans went to the polls with great enthusiasm. Of course, technical problems have been identified, but they were expected. For a country lacking democratic precedents, the timeframe for this election was extremely tight; [problems] were therefore no surprise.

But the point that all international observers want to highlight is that the electoral process does not end when polling stations close. The coming days are as important as Election Day, because it's now that vote counting, the centralisation of votes and the announcement of results begin.
F24: What types of incident have you identified, and in what regions of the country?

A.L.: There were some problems in Upper Guinea [the country’s eastern region]. Some polling stations were missing the final voter lists. In other stations, this list existed, but it did not correspond to the local residents. However, it is too early to tell if these incidents cast doubt on the overall credibility of the poll. We are currently analyzing them, because they are critical for everyone as regards accepting the electoral process.

F24:Are you afraid of the results of the first round?

A.L.:The campaigns took place in a calm atmosphere, and I hope this will continue. The announcement of the results will of course stir emotions. This is a normal reaction, as it happens in any country which organises democratic elections. For us, our objective is very clear: all those involved in the election must continue the process of democratization in a calm and peaceful way.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning