Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Observer Mission has declared Sunday's presidential election in Senegal free, transparent and peaceful.
In a preliminary declaration made available to PANA here Tuesday, the 150-member mission, headed by former Togolese Prime Minister Koffi Sama, said ''there were no major incidents and irregularities''.
The mission noted the orderliness that prevailed throughout the voting process; the availability of adequate election materials in most polling stations and the effective presence of representatives of some candidates of Coalitions of political parties.
It also highlighted the respect of procedures by electoral officials and their ability to operate in a professional manner; the effective presence of security agents in most polling areas, and the smooth conduct of the counting and collation processes in accordance with electoral standards.
''Consequently, the ECOWAS Mission commends the Senegalese authorities and all other stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful conduct of the elections. These positive elements testify to the political consciousness and maturity of Senegalese in consolidating their democratic process.
''The Mission considers this election as a crucial step for national cohesion, consolidation of democratic gains and political stability in the country. In this regard, it is of the view that peace must prevail and triumph in the best interest of the nation,'' the mission added.
In addition to the Observer Mission, ECOWAS, jointly with the African Union, also deployed a High-Level Mission to Senegal to help nudge the government and the opposition into dialogue, in the wake of the violence that greeted January's validation of the candidacy of incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade for a third term.
According to partial results, President Wade and opposition candidate Macky Sall are leading the poll and may square off in an increasingly-inevitable runoff.
-0- PANA SEG 28Feb2012