Monday, October 27, 2014

SADC hails Botswana for "professional and transparent" elections

SADC's Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to Botswana has congratulated that country for holding peaceful elections.
In a statement from Botswana on Sunday, the head of the SEOM and South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, congratulated the people of Botsawana on displaying maturity and cooperation in the face of challenges during the election process.
"The SEOM congratulates the IEC, who were able to professionally and transparently conduct the elections," said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
A final report containing observations and recommendations of the electoral process to the government of the Republic of Botswana will be released within 30 days after the announcement of the election results.
"I would like to emphasise that the SADC [Southern African Development Community] Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections state clearly that any challenge to the election results should be done in accordance with the laws of the country.
"The SEOM urges all political parties and other stakeholders to respect the will of the people in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Botswana, and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections."
Botswana went to the polls on Friday. The SEOM said the elections marked a milestone in the country's long standing democracy. Botswana remains unique in Africa in that it has enjoyed 48 years of sustained and uninterrupted democracy.
This achievement should be emulated by other SADC Member States in their efforts to consolidate and enhance democracy in the region, said the SEOM.
"On behalf of the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa, the SEOM congratulates the people of Botswana for the manner in which they conducted themselves during the electoral process.
"On behalf of all the SADC observers, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Botswana for their warm welcome and cooperation during the work of our mission," said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
The SEOM said that during and after elections, the political atmosphere was generally peaceful, even though there were isolated inter-party incidents in some districts prior to the elections.
The SEOM said the election date was timely and procedurally proclaimed on 4 July 2014, as provided for by the Electoral Act and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The mission said the 2014 elections recorded the highest number of independent candidates for parliament in the history of elections in Botswana.
In respect to gender, the SEOM did note the disproportionate representation of women as candidates across the parties. (Tshwane)

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