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The Commonwealth Observer Mission to Swaziland's 2013 National Elections

Image of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Swaziland 2013, from left to right: Commonwealth Secretariat's Koffi Sawyer and Linford Andrews; Alicia Swinamer, National Director of MYCommonwealth; Dr Bakili Muluzi; Sa-adatu Maida, Election Commissioner for Ghana; Dr Curtis Michael Jacobs, Head of Centre, The University of the West Indies Open Campus Grenada; and the Commonwealth Secretariat's Zippy Ojago

Observing Swaziland’s National Elections

Duration: 
15 - 25 September 2013
The Commonwealth observed Swaziland’s National Elections on 20 September, 2013.

The elections were the country’s second national elections under the 2005 Constitution and a new electoral legal framework. The 2013 elections offered a critical opportunity for the country and its key stakeholders to take stock of progress made in the democratic process and to map the way forward.

Commonwealth response: 

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma constituted a Commonwealth Observer Mission to observe the elections, at the invitation of Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission.

The mission consisted of four observers including its chair, former President of Malawi Dr Bakili Muluzi. It was supported by a team from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The mission observed the preparations for the elections, the elections themselves, the counting of votes, the results process as a whole and made recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework in Swaziland. 

As with all Commonwealth Observer Missions, the team acted impartially and independently and conducted itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Elections Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The mission submitted its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who in turn sent it to the Government of Swaziland, the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Swaziland, political and civil society organisations, and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

Result: 

The report made a number of recommendations for the Swaziland Government, Elections and Boundaries Commission and other stakeholders to consider with a view to improving future electoral processes. Notably, it recommended that the Constitution be revisited, ideally “through a fully inclusive, consultative process with all Swazi political organisations and civil society to harmonise provisions which are in conflict.  The aim is to ensure that Swaziland’s commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal”.