15 August 2012
Peaceful and credible elections but not yet satisfying all key benchmarks
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today released the final report of the Commonwealth Observer Group that observed the 26 May parliamentary elections in Lesotho.
In issuing the report, the Secretary-General said: "The Commonwealth Observer Group found that taken overall the elections were credible and took place in a peaceful atmosphere. However not all of the key benchmarks for democratic elections were satisfied, and the Group has highlighted a number of improvements that need to be made in the way parliamentary elections are managed in Lesotho. It also acknowledges that there are further adjustments which may become necessary as the mixed-member proportional system of representation continues to evolve."
He added: "The Commonwealth Observer Group commended the preparedness of Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission for the election, in particular its efforts on voter education. Where it has drawn attention to shortcomings the Observer Group makes specific recommendations for further strengthening the electoral process in Lesotho. These include measures to improve the quality of the voter register and to increase voter participation in future elections."
Mr Sharma said: "The Commonwealth stands ready to provide guidance and expertise in those particular areas - and in others that will assist Lesotho to strengthen further its democratic processes and institutions."
Note to Editors: The report was completed and signed by all members of the Commonwealth Observer Group prior to their departure from Lesotho. It was presented to the Commonwealth Secretary-General by the Chair of the Group, Dr Bakili Muluzi, former President of the Republic of Malawi. It has subsequently been distributed to the Government of Lesotho, political parties, the Independent Electoral Commission and all other Commonwealth governments. An Interim Statement was issued by the Group soon after the elections.
Communications and Public Affairs Division
Tel: +44 (0)78 9459 3517