The Commonwealth is a pioneer in the field of international election observation and has observed over 200 elections in nearly 40 countries since 1980. Building, supporting and strengthening legal systems and good governance in our member countries is a key aim of the Commonwealth.

Electoral support

Through electoral support, the Commonwealth works to strengthen electoral democracy and election bodies, institutions and processes.

The Commonwealth Secretariat helps member countries to strengthen democratic institutions and processes and enable citizen participation and representation during elections. This is achieved using the full electoral cycle approach in our engagement with member countries. ​

During elections, and on receipt of an invitation, the Commonwealth Secretary-General will often deploy an independent observer group to give an impartial assessment and offer recommendations on possible improvements.

Between elections, we work with a variety of national stakeholders to help implement observer recommendations. ​

Promoting good practice

The Secretariat also promotes good electoral practice through the publication of expert guides and handbooks, and fosters knowledge sharing and capacity building through the Commonwealth Electoral Network and Commonwealth Election Professionals Initiative. ​Learn more below.

Observing the conduct of elections

Good Offices for Peace

The Secretary-General’s Good Offices for Peace play an important role in political dispute mitigation and resolution.

This work may involve the appointment of distinguished representatives, or envoys, to promote dialogue between key actors and support the development of sustainable solutions to often deep-rooted tensions.

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) assesses violations of Commonwealth values and recommends measures to restore democracy and constitutional rule. Its activities, composition and remit are reviewed every two years.

The Commonwealth places a high priority on being a community of peaceful, democratic countries which promotes and protects shared values, including the separation of powers, rule of law and human rights. Established more than 20 years ago in 1995, the CMAG is the custodian of these fundamental political values.

Learn more about CMAG