The African Union Election Observation Mission to The Gambia’s April 6th Parliamentary elections arrived in the country ahead of voting day.

At the invitation of the government of the Republic of The Gambia, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat deployed the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) to observe the parliamentary elections in The Gambia, a statement from the continental body said.

The short-term observers are drawn from members of the African Ambassadors to the AU in Addis Ababa, Pan African Parliament (PAP), Election Management Bodies and civil society organisations.

Supported by a technical team from the AUC, PAP and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), the AUEOM are in the country since 27th March and will end its mission on the 12th of April 2017.

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The Head of the AUEOM Mr. Terry Tselane, Vice Chairperson of Independent Electoral Commission South Africa arrived in the country on the 2nd April and will remain till the 8th of April 2017.

The objectives of the AUEOM are to make an independent, objective and impartial assessment of the 2017 National Assembly Elections; and to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections that will contribute to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability in the country.

“To this end, AU observers will be deployed to the regions of the country to observe the final days of the campaigns, the voting process and the days immediately after polling. The AUEOM will meet with various state institutions, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), political parties, civil society, the media, security agencies and other stakeholders. The Mission will also interact with other election observation missions in the country and diplomatic missions present in the Republic of The Gambia” the AU noted in the statement.

The AUEOM has a mandate to observe the 6th April 2017 National Assembly Elections in conformity with the relevant provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), which entered into force on 15 February 2012; the AU/OAU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa (AHG/Decl.1 (XXXVIII)), adopted by the Assembly of the African Union in July 2002; the African Union Guidelines for Elections Observation and Monitoring Missions; relevant international instruments governing elections observation; and the Constitution as well as the laws of the Republic of The Gambia.

The observations and recommendations of the AUEOM will be based on the principles of credibility, transparency, fairness and professionalism in the conduct of the elections as enshrined in the aforementioned AU instruments.

After the elections, the AUEOM will release its preliminary assessment of the election at a press conference in Banjul. A more detailed final report on the elections, which will be shared with the appropriate Gambian authorities and institutions, will be produced within three months.