The Commonwealth Observer Mission has issued an interim statement following the general election in Nauru, providing an outline of its key findings as voting draws to a close and results are tabulated. Just under 8,000 registered voters selected MPs for the 19-member parliament from 67 candidates. President Baron Waqa was re-elected in his constituency; the other seats have also been decided except for two in Aiwo, where a legal technicality has delayed voting until 11 July. The newly-formed Nauru Electoral Commission managed the process for the first time.
The Commonwealth Observer Mission visited all 14 polling stations on the island. Led by Anote Tong, the former President of Kiribati, it concluded that the vote was conducted peacefully, with citizens able to cast votes without intimidation. In the statement, the observers congratulated the Electoral Commission for its voter education activities before the election and for developing of a credible voters' list. They also commented on the low number of women candidates and the difficulties caused by the absence of an independent media.
But overall, the Commonwealth observers concluded that the vote was free and fair. "The Nauru Electoral Commission is to be congratulated for organising the 2016 General Election."
Photo caption: Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Mission, H.E. Anote Tong and Nauru's first female MP (1986 -1992) (1995-1997) - Mrs Ruby Thoma after casting her vote.