ECOWAS declares Mali's parliament runoff free, transparent

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - Despite a low turnout, the second round of Mali's parliamentary election took place in ''acceptable conditions of freedom and transparency'', the ECOWAS Election Observer Mission (EOM) has declared in its preliminary observation on the election, held Sunday.

''Based on the reports and observations so far received from ECOWAS field observers, the ECOWAS EOM concludes that the observed incidents did not in any way lower the conduct of the elections below internationally accepted standards,'' the EOM said in the declaration, made available to PANA here by the ECOWAS Commission.

It said the atmosphere on election day, particularly the voting process and the conduct of the electoral agents, showed that best practices and improvements were maintained, compared to the first round.

But the mission noted that the problem of low voters turnout persisted due to a combination of factors, such as voter apathy, disenfranchisement of a considerable number of newly eligible voters and security concerns in parts of the north.

It however restated its recommendation for Electoral Reform aimed at eliminating the provision for a second-round of legislative elections, due to its cost-implication.

The EOM urged political parties, coalitions and candidates to ensure that their candidates and supporters adhere strictly to the existing electoral regulations and procedures, and the rule of law, and to resort to only legal means in seeking redress for any grievances resulting from the conduct of the elections.

It said that with the imminent conclusion of the electoral process, the international community must to live up to its commitment of providing resources and facilities for the much needed post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction efforts in Mali, to enhance the full recovery and stability of Mali.

The runoff was held following the first round of legislative elections on 24 Nov. 2013 that produced only 20 MPs out of the 147 members of the National Assembly.

The 50-member EOM was headed by Prof. Amos Sawyer, former President of Liberia's Interim Government of National Unity, who also headed the 100-strong team to the first round.

The legislative polls followed successful presidential elections last July/August in the country, which is recovering from a protracted political crisis.
-0- PANA SEG 17Dec2013

17 december 2013 09:29:18

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