France asks OIF to expand electoral monitoring

Bamako- Mali (PANA) -- French minister delegate for Cooperation and Francophonie, Brigitte Girardin, has asked the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) to make elections monitoring more comprehensive.
"We all know that an observation mission must began as early as registration on the electoral roll and stay three months later until the verification of the counting of votes," Girardin told the opening session of the International Symposium on the Practices of Democracy, rights and liberties in the Francophone area.
"Therefore, it seems judicious to me to avoid dispersion, notably the observation/testimonies by certain personalities who cannot be present on the day of ballot, in order to better concentrate our efforts on the observation of elections in crisis-emerging countries," she argued on Sunday.
She said election observation is a key means of consolidating democracy, and called for the education of youths in Francophonie member states to democratic values.
"Obviously, the way youths regard democratic issues, the place they will assume or not assume in political life are for us a central concern," Girardin said.
She recalled that "the theme of youth was chosen for the Summit to be held by France and its partners" in less than a month here.
Assessing the so-called Declaration of Bamako adopted on 3 November 2000 in the Malian capital, Girardin proposed it should be completed with an additional protocol defining new election observation rules and providing for Francophone youths' education to democracy.
"Democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights are constitutive values of Francophonie identity.
No one can claim belonging to our community without adhering to these values; this must be the conviction of each of us," Girardin said.
"Governments and populations must bring an exemplary contribution in deeply establishing democracy and human rights.
France will take part in this, with the conviction that democratic governance is the condition for a real development," she assured.
The French official expressed the wish to see the Symposium usher in a diagnosis that reflects both the progress and flaws of the Declaration of Bamako.
Five years after, now is the time to assess the Declaration of Bamako, she said, adding that the document opens "a collective ambition and new cooperation field in the spheres of human rights and democracy.
" "A sober examination of implementation conditions depends on our capacity to improve the democratic establishment that we all want for the Francophonie.
I want to strongly reaffirm that for France, the Declaration of Bamako is the text that underlies the Francophonie," Girardin said.
She said the symposium was not convened to re-write a text that is "both clear, ambitious and operational, which has already enabled genuine progress", but to brainstorm on the persistence of difficulties, notably the outbreak of crises and conflicts in the Francophone area.
Some 300 delegates from 63 Francophonie member states and governments, international organisations and the civil society will work at enriching the Declaration of Bamako during the three-day symposium.
To that effect the participants plan to work in three thematic workshops, with one exclusively devoted to early conflict alert.
Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure Sunday opened the Symposium in the presence of OIF secretary general Abdou Diouf, stressing Africa's progress in the spheres of democracy and political power changeover.

07 november 2005 15:35:00

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