| Presidential election 2011 - 24.05.2011
Results reflect popular will, observers say
Foreign observers are satisfied that last week’s presidential election was conducted in a satisfactory way and that the results reflect the choice of the electorate.
They have nevertheless made some recommendations to improve the conduct of future elections.
Some 100 observers from the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the Commission de l’Océan Indien (COI), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Commonwealth, observed the May 19-21 election.
Prior to the election, most observer groups held talks with the electoral commissioner and his team, representatives of civil society and the media, the head of the Supreme Court and the bishops of the Catholic and Anglican churches.
They also met with all the four candidates contesting the election.
The observers note that the polling from May 19-21 was held in a calm atmosphere, characterised by civism and discipline.
They also found that the high level of professionalism by officials of the electoral commissioner’s office as well as polling agents of the candidates have contributed towards transparency at the polling.
They state that the Seychellois are to be congratulated for the harmony and high turnout at the polls.
They have however made some recommendations with the aim of improving the conduct of future elections.
The joint Organisation de la Francophonie and COI as well as the SADC have in an interim statement deplored the absence of observers from the local civil society.
Concern has also been raised about use of the broadcasting media. Though it is noted that all candidates were allowed equal air time on national radio and TV for their campaign broadcasts, coverage of some events prior to the election was seen as being in favour of one candidate.
The observers also note that use of the state apparatus, as raised by opposition candidates, deserve attention, if these allegations are founded.
All observer groups have come out in favour of involving civil society and local observer groups in future elections.
The SADC has also come out in favour of an electoral commission to replace the Office of the Electoral Commissioner.
It has also suggested that the ballot boxes be translucent, for more transparency.