Posted by: africanpressorganization | 11 April 2014

African Union Election Observation Mission to the Presidential and Legislative Elections of 13 April 2014 in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau


 

African Union Election Observation Mission to the Presidential and Legislative Elections of 13 April 2014 in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

 

BISSAU, Guinea Bissau, April 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ At the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has deployed an African Union Election Observation Mission (AU EOM) to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to observe the Presidential and Legislative Elections scheduled for Sunday, 13 April 2014.

The AU EOM has the mandate to observe the 13 April 2014 elections in line with the relevant provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which is intended to enhance electoral processes in Africa, strengthen electoral institutions and the conduct of fair, free, and transparent elections; the AU/OAU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, adopted by the Assembly of the African Union in July 2002; the African Union Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions; the AU Long Term Observation Framework and other relevant international instruments governing election observation; and the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

 

The Mission is led by H.E Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former President of the Republic of Mozambique, who arrived in Bissau today, 10 April 2014, and comprises 56 observers from the Pan-African Parliament, African Ambassadors to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Election Management Bodies and Civil Society Organisations from various African countries. The Mission has deployed 19 teams of observers in all nine regions of Guinea-Bissau. The Mission is assisted by a group of experts from the African Union Commission, Pan-African Parliament and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).

On 9 February 2014, the AU deployed a team of nine Long-Term Observers (LTO), as part of its AU EOM to the 13 April elections. Since its deployment, the LTO Team has met with interlocutors at national, regional and sector levels, including senior government officials, the Election Management Bodies, the Supreme Court, senior officers of the Armed Forces and the Police, representatives of political parties, representatives from civil society organisations, and the media. The LTO Team also observed the exhibition and correction of the provisional voter register, the electoral campaign, special voting and other components of the electoral process. In total, the LTO Team has observed these processes in 39 sectors, in all 8 regions and the autonomous sector of Bissau, for the past nine weeks.

 

 

As a result of its observation of the pre-election period, the LTO Team produced the following findings on the Guinea-Bissau electoral process so far:

1.    The revision of the Law on Voter Registration to introduce an enhanced manual voter registration system, in order to establish a new voter register and to permit agents of political parties and coalitions to verify the process was a positive step toward making the electoral process more credible.

2.    The registration of 775,508 voters, which corresponds to more than 95% of the established target, represents a remarkable achievement. However, the AU EOM is concerned with some shortcomings of the voter registration process, namely the case of voters who continue to wait for their voter’s cards in many regions of the country. The continued distribution of the voter cards in these last days of the electoral process is welcomed, and it is the opinion of the Mission that distribution should continue at polling stations on Election Day.

3.    The AU EOM is also concerned with the discrepancy between the voter’s cards numbers of many voters and the number of the polling stations where they have been allocated to vote.

4.    Notwithstanding these challenges experienced by election management bodies, electoral stakeholders have maintained confidence in them.

5.    Political actors have respected the commitments undertaken by signing the Code of Conduct and Ethics in Elections on 20 March 2014 thus far. Political campaigns have been carried out in a peaceful environment, with reconciliatory messages from all political actors, with only isolated reports of minor campaign violence incidents.

6.    The establishment by both national and international actors of a Joint Command with the mandate to secure election materials, election personnel and candidates before, during and after the elections till the swearing–in of a newly elected president is a very positive measure to ensure overall security of the electoral process.

7.     Women in Guinea-Bissau represent 52 % of the registered electorate and have been very active as voter sensitization agents and present in the campaign rallies. However, only one of the 4 members of the CNE Secretariat is female and all 9 heads of the regional electoral commissions are male. None of the 13 presidential candidates is female and less that 30% of candidates for the legislative elections are women.

8.    Electoral legislation continues not to provide for the observation of elections by citizen groups against the principles of citizen participation in all aspects of political life in their countries, as well as best practices in the African continent.

 

The AU EOM underlines that its assessment this far is based on part of the process only. As part of its mandate, the AU EOM will continue to engage relevant electoral stakeholders to closely follow the process, and provide advice when and if needed, until the electoral results are announced. Within 48 hours of the closing of the polls, the AU EOM will release its Preliminary Statement with its provisional assessment of the process and initial recommendations. The overall evaluation of the elections will be done after the Mission’s observation of the whole process through a comprehensive report.

The AU EOM calls on the National Elections Commission, Political Parties, Candidates, Transition Authorities, the Military and Security Personnel, the Civil Society, the Media and every Bissau Guinean to maintain the current temperate socio-political climate in the country. The Mission expresses its wishes for successful elections and encourages all citizens of Guinea-Bissau to continue in a peaceful electoral atmosphere as they have done so far.

 

The Secretariat of the Mission is based at the Azalai Hotel. For further information, please contact the Mission Coordinator: Ms. Karine Kakasi Siaba, +245 674 1373, Kakasik@african-union.org.

 

 

Bissau, 10 April 2014

 

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)


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