We were pleased to observe that the campaign period was calm and peaceful and that the fundamental rights of candidates, political parties and the electorate to freely assemble and campaign were respected.
The polling stations observed opened on time and polling procedures were generally followed and appeared transparent. Polling stations were well sign-posted. The polling process was efficient and faster than the first round of elections. This followed the decision of the Electoral Commission, with agreement by the Political Parties, to streamline the voting process by reducing the number of details on the register of the voter to be called out during the voting process. Additional polling officers were added to the Polling Team and further training provided. The Presiding Officers and polling staff were professional, helpful to the voters, and followed procedures. The count was transparent and procedures followed.
We commend the arrangement for fast-tracking the elderly, pregnant women and other vulnerable voters. We commend the measures put in place to allow easy access to polling stations by the elderly and disabled voters. We were concerned that the secrecy of the ballot cast by elderly voters was an issue in some of the voting stations we observed.
We commend and congratulate all the women and youth who participated in the electoral process, not only as voters, but also as polling staff, citizen observers and party agents.
We congratulate all the members of civil society organisations who participated as domestic observers and encourage them to continue playing a constructive role in strengthening the country’s democratic process.
We would like to commend and congratulate the Chairman and members of the Electoral Commission of Seychelles for the efficient preparation and managing of this historical second round of the Presidential Election. The dedication and commitment of the Electoral Commission in ensuring that the people of Seychelles exercise their democratic right was exemplary.
The Group also commend the role of the Police in providing security arrangements during the poll and the protection and transport of the ballot boxes. The presence of the police ensured a calm and peaceful environment throughout the process.
Our preliminary conclusion is that the election was peaceful, generally well conducted and transparent. We were concerned, however, with wide allegations of vote buying that took place in the lead up and during the process. We recognise that the SNP has requested a national recount and will submit a legal challenge to the results. We encourage all the parties to pursue any concerns and dispute through the legal framework and laws of the country and due process to be respected.
The Group encourages the political parties and all their supporters to exercise restraint and explore opportunities for political cooperation as Seychelles continues with its journey in strengthening its democracy.
20 December 2015