Commonwealth team to observe Antigua & Barbuda election

Election day will see voters asked to choose constituency representatives to the House of Representatives.
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NEW DELHI: Former President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will lead a team of Commonwealth election observers to Antigua and Barbuda for the country's general election, scheduled for January 18.

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, announced the composition of the Commonwealth Observation Group on Thursday in response to an invitation from the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

Election day will see voters asked to choose constituency representatives to the House of Representatives.

In a statement, the Secretary-General said: "I thank Danny Faure for accepting my invitation to lead this group and each of the Commonwealth observers for agreeing to undertake this important assignment.

"The group, which is independent and impartial, will assess the overall conduct of the election and, at the end, make recommendations which will contribute towards strengthening the electoral process in Antigua and Barbuda."

The group's mandate is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting, tabulation procedures and the overall electoral environment as well as consider any factors that could impinge upon the credibility of the process as a whole.

Prior to deployment, the group will also have briefings with the country's political party representatives, police officers and several stakeholders, including officials from the Electoral Commission, the media and social society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities.

The group will submit its recommendations in a report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the government of Antigua and Barbuda, the country's Electoral Commission, the leadership of political parties taking part in the elections and all Commonwealth governments.

The report will be made public shortly after this.

The group comprises five eminent persons from across the Commonwealth. They will be supported by a staff team from the Secretariat led by Luis Franceschi, Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

The group is expected to arrive in Saint John's on January 14.

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