(No. 376 - November 26, 2010 - noon ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement welcoming the publication by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the timetable for the country’s 2011 general elections:
“Canada welcomes the publication of the timetable for Nigeria’s upcoming general elections. We commend INEC and its chairman, Attahiru Mohammed Jega, for their determined efforts to improve Nigeria’s electoral system and give Nigerians the credible elections they hope for.
“We appreciate President Goodluck Jonathan’s stated commitment to holding free, fair, credible and peaceful elections that are consistent with international standards. We call on all candidates and political parties to work with INEC to contribute to this outcome and to ensure thorough voter registration and education.
“We also urge all stakeholders to work toward the quick resolution of legal disputes over amendments to the Constitution and the Electoral Act. Prolonged confusion over the legal framework underpinning the elections could have a negative impact on electoral preparations.
“Canadians stand together with the Nigerian people as they strive to consolidate democracy and the rule of law. We will continue to support democracy in Nigeria through means including assistance to INEC and Nigerian civil society.”
INEC’s timetable sets dates for Nigeria’s next elections and for important events in the lead-up to them. National Assembly elections will be held on April 2, the presidential election on April 9, and state-level elections on April 16. Party primaries will be held between November 26 and January 15.
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