Elections observers have set out a range of recommendations for strengthening the democratic processes in The Bahamas, Lesotho and Tonga in three new reports.
Commonwealth Observer Groups (COG) were deployed by Secretary-General Patricia Scotland last year to all three countries for their respective national elections. The four-person teams were tasked with considering any factors that could impact on the credibility of the electoral processes as a whole. Each team published an interim report immediately after the election it observed, providing an immediate assessment of the electoral process.
The final COG reports, published last week, provide practical recommendations to the Governments of The Bahamas, Lesotho and Tonga, on ways to strengthen institutional and procedural aspects of the elections, including election-related laws and administration. The publications also focus on issues such as voter participation, specifically in relation to women and youth, in addition to wider areas such as campaign practices, voting procedures and results.
The findings draw on the extensive experience of the Commonwealth Observer Group missions, which have overseen more than 140 elections since 1991. The Secretariat is currently undertaking a review of its election observation process, with a view to agreeing an updated format at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.