GuineaBissau parties agree to delay elections for voter reregistration UN says

The United Nations offices in Guinea-Bissau are focusing on efforts to lower tensions between political parties and creating a good political climate for a peaceful, fair and transparent poll, which has been delayed by a month, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report to the Security Council.With 20 political parties having challenged the 2004 voter register, the Guinea-Bissau National Election Commission and the parties will revise the list, delaying the presidential elections until a yet to be determined time in June, a date which will mark the end of the political transition in the post-conflict country, it says.Since the Council has revised the mandate of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS), Mr. Annan recommends that the office develop “stable civil-military relations through a profound reform of the armed forces as an institution subordinate to democratic civilian authority.”The dignified reintegration of demobilized former combatants deserves particular attention, along with reform of the justice system and the revitalization of the economy to sustain any progress from security reform, it says.The country has improved noticeably since his last report in December, Mr. Annan says, but is still confronted with tremendous challenges. “The State is still floundering and unable to effectively address the basic needs of the populace,” while the old sources of conflict persist. read more