Mali's parliamentary polls acceptable, transparent - ECOWAS

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The observer mission of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS has said Sunday's legislative election in Mali met ''globally-acceptable standards''.

“The shortcomings observed did not in any significant way affect the conduct of the election in line with globally acceptable standards. Though not intended, the disenfranchisement of some young voters and some electorate in the insecure north, as well as the low turn-out in the elections, are regrettable,” the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission said in a preliminary declaration made available to PANA here Tuesday by the ECOWAS Commission

The 100-member mission, led by Prof. Amos Sawyer, former President of Liberia’s Government of National Unity, noted that the processes and conduct of stakeholders on Election Day showed “a marked improvement” over the Presidential elections of July/August, including the timely arrival of electoral officials, early delivery of essential materials and the orderly conduct of voters.

The EOM congratulated the political parties, candidates and the electorate for their peaceful conduct in the electoral process, and encouraged them to show the same maturity during the processes of collation and declaration of results.

It also enjoins them to seek solutions to any grievances exclusively through legal channels.

“The ECOWAS EOM is convinced that the conclusion of the legislative elections will endow Mali with another legitimate platform to spearhead the on-going reconciliation and reconstruction efforts. It reiterates the commitment of ECOWAS to accompany Mali in these processes,” the Mission said.

The EOM listed some of the other shortcomings which it noted as inadequate sensitisation of voters on the relocation of some polling stations since the Presidential election, particularly in the northern regions of Gao and Timbuktu; Late display of Voters Lists at several polling stations across the country, which resulted in difficulties in locating polling stations; Poor representation of women, who constituted only 14% of the more than 1,140 candidates, as well as “an isolated case of ballot box snatching in the northern region of Kidal.”

More than 6.5 million registered Malian voters went to the polls on Sunday to elect members of the country’s 147-seat Parliament.

The legislative election is the last stage of the political transition process facilitated by ECOWAS to restore constitutional order and the country’s territorial integrity after its 10-month political and security crises.
-0- PANA SEG 26Nov2013

26 november 2013 10:10:33

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