Home >Our work >Democracy and Elections
  • Observing the conduct of elections

    The Commonwealth has observed more than 130 elections in 36 countries since 1980, most recently observing Zimbabwe’s 2018 General Elections.

    Find out more »

Democracy and Elections

Building, supporting and strengthening legal systems in our member countries is a key aim of the Commonwealth. This includes promoting regular elections and strengthening election bodies, institutions and processes.

The Commonwealth regularly sends teams to observe and report on the conduct of elections.  We help build lasting democratic institutions, enabling citizen participation and representation at national and local level. We believe in invitation, not intervention, and follow the principles outlined in the international declaration and code of conduct for election observers

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) assesses violations of Commonwealth values and recommends measures to restore democracy and constitutional rule. Composed of 10 Commonwealth member countries, CMAG has authority to suspend a country from the Commonwealth. Its activities, composition and remit are reviewed every two years.

Observer group describes Belize vote as ‘credible, transparent and inclusive’

A Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) deployed to observe a referendum in Belize has described the vote as “credible, transparent and inclusive”.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki to lead Commonwealth Observer Group for Malawi elections

A Commonwealth group has been appointed to observe the 2019 Malawi Tripartite elections. It will be led by Thabo Mbeki, the second post-Apartheid South African President.

Commonwealth group: Maldives elections “peaceful and well-organised”

A Commonwealth group observing Maldives’ 2019 parliamentary election has concluded the voting and counting process on election day was “peaceful and well organised”.

Commonwealth observers commend peaceful conduct of Solomon Islands election

The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) in Honiara has commended the people of the Solomon Islands for “participating peacefully and in high numbers in their national general election”.

Voting begins in Maldives

A Commonwealth group is observing Maldives’ 2019 parliamentary elections as the nation elects 87 members to parliament for the next five years. The former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, is chairing the group of eight Commonwealth observers.

Observer Group arrives in Belize

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has deployed a Commonwealth Observer Group to observe the referendum in Belize proposed for 10 April. The Observer Group is led by Hubert A Ingraham, former Prime Minister of The Bahamas, and is composed of ten specialists from across the Commonwealth with backgrounds in election management, law, gender, civil society, media, and politics.