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Lesotho elections peaceful and credible so far, say Commonwealth Observers

29 May 2012
Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Malawi President Dr Bakili Muluzi, issues interim statement

A team of Commonwealth observers to the 26 May 2012 parliamentary elections in Lesotho has said the polls in the Southern Africa nation have so far been peaceful and credible.

In an interim statement issued at a press conference by the Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Malawi President Dr Bakili Muluzi, on 29 May 2012 in the Lesotho capital Maseru, the Group said that "it is the view of the Commonwealth Observer Group that this election was conducted in a credible, transparent and professional manner."

The Group said that the elections were competitive and that basic freedoms of association, assembly and movement were not compromised.

Commonwealth observers however pointed out some areas that need improvement for future elections, including improvement of the voter register to make it more credible prior to the next elections, the use of government vehicles for election purposes other than for transporting ministers, breaches of the electoral code of conduct, isolated incidents of violence and bias of the state media.

"Despite the various shortcomings we have highlighted, they did not materially affect the conduct of the elections," Dr Muluzi said.

The former President said that as the result process reaches its crucial finalisation phase: "We hope that the peaceful tenor of the electoral process thus far will continue to prevail.

"We reiterate our call on all political parties, their supporters and other stakeholders to continue to show restraint and magnanimity and to uphold their pre-election commitments to peace with the same spirit of national unity, peace and solidarity. We believe the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho deserve that from their elected representatives."

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