Commonwealth deploys Observers for the Seychelles Presidential Election

 The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, announced that the Commonwealth will deploy observers to Seychelles for the upcoming Presidential Election scheduled for 3-5 December 2015. This decision follows an invitation from the Electoral Commission of Seychelles.

Lord Sevele, former Prime Minister of Tonga will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group.

The Secretary-General said: “These elections will be an opportunity for Seychelles to further consolidate its electoral process. Peaceful and credible elections are a reflection of a people’s collective determination and will. Commonwealth observers will be deployed to witness and observe the elections and to support Seychellois’ efforts towards strengthening and embedding democratic good practice.”

Mr. Sharma added: “The success and credibility of an election is inextricably linked to the participation by all stakeholders in the process - from the Election Commission, through to political parties and their leaders, civil society organisations, security agencies, the media and voters. It is a shared responsibility for all concerned.”

The Observer Group will consider the pre-election, election day, and the immediate post-election day environments. On Election Day, it will observe the voting process, vote-counting procedures and the announcement of results, and assess these processes against the backdrop of international standards for democratic elections to which Seychelles has committed.

As with all Commonwealth Observer Groups, this mission will function with impartiality and independence, and will be guided by the standards enunciated in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.
Composition of the Observer Group

The Commonwealth Observer Group will consist of nine eminent persons supported by four Commonwealth Secretariat staff members. The members of the Group are:

   Chair: Lord Sevele, Former Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Tonga

    Mr Alvin Smith, former Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Vice-President of the Senate, The Bahamas
    Mr Mahendra Ved, Vice-President, Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) and Chairperson, CJA India Chapter
    Ms Jane Michuki, Former Chairperson, Institute for Education in Democracy and Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
    Ms Susana Faletau, Former CEO of the Ministry of Justice, Tonga
    Mr Mark Ramkerrysingh, Commissioner, Elections and Boundaries Commission, Trinidad and Tobago
    Ms Deborah Ossiya, Gender, Human Rights and Governance Specialist, Uganda

Advance Observers

    Mrs Priscilla Isaac, Director, Electoral Commission of Zambia
    Mr Kenneth Abotsi, Peace and Security Expert, Ghana

The Commonwealth Secretariat staff support team will be led by Mr Martin Kasirye, Adviser and Head, Electoral Support Section, Political Division.