A Commonwealth team, led by former Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, will be deployed to Pakistan to observe the general elections scheduled for 8 February 2024. At the request of the Election Commission of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a 13-member Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) is due to arrive in Islamabad on 1 February and will remain in the country until the electoral process is completed.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has selected a team of multidisciplinary experts from across the Commonwealth. The observer group will offer an independent and comprehensive assessment of the electoral process.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General said:
“I applaud Pakistan’s commitment to transparency and accountability. The Commonwealth is pleased to support Pakistan’s democratic journey. We look forward to peaceful and fair elections.”
“I am grateful that the former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has once again accepted our invitation to serve as Chair of an election observer group. The team of observers will assess the conduct of the process as a whole and, where appropriate, make recommendations for the further strengthening of the electoral system.”
“It is hoped that these recommendations will be of benefit to the people and government of Pakistan in strengthening their electoral processes. The Commonwealth Secretariat would be ready to assist with this process, if deemed necessary.”
She also called on all stakeholders, including political parties and their supporters, to contribute to a peaceful election in keeping with the Commonwealth values.
During their stay, the members of the observer group will be stationed throughout the country. The COG will be supported by a team from the Commonwealth Secretariat led by Mr Linford Andrews, Adviser and Head of the Electoral Support Section.
While in Pakistan, the members of the observer group will also meet with a wide range of interlocutors, including representatives from political parties, election officials, media stakeholders and civil society groups.
On election day, members of the COG will observe and consider all aspects of the election process across Pakistan- from the opening of polling stations and the voting process to the counting of ballots and announcement of results. Following election day, the group will hold a press conference and issue an interim statement with its preliminary findings.
A final report, which will include recommendations to help improve future electoral processes, will be presented to the government of Pakistan and the Election Commission. The report will also be shared with other stakeholders.
Members of the Commonwealth Observer Group
Chairperson: Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of Nigeria
Observers (in alphabetical order by nationality):
- Dr Linet Damaris Njeri Muthoni, criminology and gender expert, Australia
- Ms Barbara Malimali, Principal of Pacific Chambers and Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Fiji
- Ms Nazima Natasha Raghubir, Journalist and Media Advocate, Guyana
- Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan, Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan, former Chairperson of the Independent National Election Commission of Kenya and Advocate, High Court of Kenya
- Ms Anahila Lose Kanongata’a JP, former Member of Parliament, New Zealand
- Ms Belinda Kora, Founder and Lead for Women in Media and Secretary of the Media Council of Papua New Guinea
- Mrs Sarah Lucy Flood-Beaubrun, former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Saint Lucia
- Mr Umaru Fofana, Editor-in-Chief, FreeMedia Group and former President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists
- Mr Mohamed Mahdoom Mohamed, former Commissioner General of Elections, Election Commission of Sri Lanka
- Mr Brian Speers, Lawyer and Mediator and former President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, United Kingdom
- Hon Mohamed Chande Othman, former Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania
- Mr Jacob Goma, Elections Expert, Zambia
Commonwealth observer groups must abide by the Commonwealth’s Revised Guidelines for the Conduct of Election Observation in Member Countries, which were adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018.
Charmaine Wright Head of Media Relations, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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