UN chief calls for violence-free elections in Nigeria

08:51, April 02, 2011      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Friday called on the Nigerian government to hold violence- free elections in April and urged "the political parties to respect the electoral Code of Conduct they willingly adopted."

A statement, issued here by Ban's spokesman, said, "The secretary-general calls on Nigeria's authorities to uphold their commitment to violence-free elections and to a level playing field that enhances public trust in the electoral process."

"He encourages the political parties to respect the electoral Code of Conduct they willingly adopted, and to uphold their commitment to tolerance, inclusiveness and peace during the electoral process," the statement said.

Nigerians will be voting over three weekends -- first in legislative, then presidential and lastly in state polls. It is the third time general elections are being held in Nigeria since military rule ended in 1999.

The previous ones, in 2003 and 2007 respectively, were marred by allegations of widespread rigging, voter intimidation and ballot vote snatching.

"The secretary-general is encouraged by the progress achieved by Nigeria in consolidating its democracy and hopes that the forthcoming elections -- the fourth held in a row since the restoration of constitutional order in 1999 -- will meet the high expectations of the Nigerian people and the international community," the statement said.

"The secretary-general notes that bold electoral reforms have been undertaken, including significant investments in a new voter registry and other activities designed to promote credible and transparent elections," the statement said.

"The secretary-general stresses that the successful conduct of these elections would strengthen Nigeria's democracy, advance its socioeconomic development, and enable the country to continue to play its leading role in the promotion of regional peace, security and economic integration," the statement added.

Source: Xinhua
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